Cricket SA (CSA) was decisive in announcing its decision to cancel all cricket in the country for 60 days following the outbreak of the Covid-19 coronavirus. It’s a decision that has brought a somewhat fitting end to a season in which cricket has been through the wringer, both on and off the field.
But with the domestic cricket season yet to be concluded, the call has left the governing body with a few loose ends to tie up, such as deciding the champions of the remaining domestic competitions, including the Four-Day Franchise Series and the Momentum One-Day Cup. CSA acting chief executive Jacques Faul explains the rationale of the governing body’s thinking.
How did you come to the decision to cancel the rest of the season?
The world is in crisis; we’ve got to react in a way that safeguards lives. We met with Sports, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa, and I think the theme that came out of that meeting was that a life saved today is a potential fan tomorrow. So we encourage people to act responsibly – even those leagues that are not under our auspices – and not go ahead with planned activities.
The CSA board has established an executive committee of three board members to speed up the decision-making process. We’ve made money available should Covid-19 need to be addressed with immediate expenses.
How will the Momentum One-Day Cup winner be decided on?
The way we wanted to deal with it was to talk to all six captains of the franchises and get their input. We also got statisticians to help, then [head of Cricket Pathways] Corrie van Zyl and others would take it to the cricket committee and we’d come up with a decision.
In the absence of a guideline in our by-laws, all we can do is consult with all the relevant parties and get a recommendation from the cricket committee and the board.
There are various ways of arriving at a fair decision. Not awarding the title is one; awarding the title to the team at the top of the log is another; or the four finalists can share the money equally and the top two the trophy. The decision will be made next week.
Earlier this week, you said there’d be no financial ramifications for cancelling the season early. Is that possible?
When we said we’d cancel the last three matches, our sponsors, Momentum, agreed, and so did broadcaster SuperSport. Where you lose is if you have an incoming tour, and we’ve only got one in August. We’re close enough with Momentum to say that we can make up the losses elsewhere, for now.
Director of cricket Graeme Smith’s contract was only until the Indian Premier League (IPL); what happens now that it’s also been postponed?
We’re in negotiations with him to be appointed permanently. Hopefully we can make an announcement soon. I don’t have a problem with our guys going to the IPL when there is no cricket taking place in South Africa. The money is insane and benefits our contracting, so it’s good for us. We don’t mind them going, to be fair.
Aside from their cancelled tour of India, what are the other ramifications of Covid-19 for the Proteas?
Further down the line, where there’s an incoming tour, we might have issues if the situation remains the same.
We’ve still got to fly back to India, which will cost us R1.5 million to R1.8 million to see the cancelled tour through, but that has not been finalised yet.
For now, we’re okay, but we’re not an island – we have our sponsors and we’re part of a world that’s in an economic recession.