Cricket back on track for a return to play

CSA chief medical officer Dr Shuaib Manjra addresses the media during a virtual press conference. Picture: Gallo Images

Having received approval from government, Cricket SA is expected to announce a new date for the 3TCricket match within the next few days.

Now that Cricket South Africa (CSA) has sent its plan for a return to play to the Department of Health, and provided additional information on how it will handle any positive coronavirus tests, the federation can proceed with plans to return to play.

Government announced at the weekend that cricket was one of seven sports to be granted approval to resume activities.

So the hiccup that caused the original launch of 3TCricket on June 27 to be postponed lasted only a week and fans could expect the new format, which was set to feature three teams competing at the same time in a 36-over contest, to be unveiled soon.

CSA’s procedures to mitigate the risk of Covid-19 infection were apparently good enough to allow them to continue with plans to hold the 3TCricket opener at SuperSport Park, even though Centurion was in a hotspot for the pandemic.

“Because Centurion is a hotspot, we had to run our plans through the Department of Health, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases and the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture,” said CSA’s chief medical officer Dr Shuaib Manjra.

“The health authorities went through our plan and then requested additional information around testing and what would happen with positive tests.

“Once we provided them with that, they were subsequently happy and we added those details into our original plan.

“The event can still be held at Centurion. The government has no objection to that, and we can expect to have an announcement on the venue in the next few days.”

There was also a strong possibility that the Proteas would be returning to international action in August.

South Africa were scheduled to play two Tests and five T20 Internationals against the West Indies, and CSA was proceeding with its plans as if that series would still go ahead.

What still needed to be decided, however, was whether it would take place as it was meant to in the Caribbean, or in England – where the West Indians were currently preparing in a bio-bubble for a three-Test series – or in South Africa.

The lucrative T20 series that CSA were hoping to host against India, also in August, looked more likely to be postponed to early next year.

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