Tue, 24 Nov 2020

Acting Cricket South Africa (CSA) CEO Kugandrie Govender couldn't conceal her delight that the England tour was going ahead in November after a tense wait for government approval these past few weeks.

Speaking at CSA's season launch at the Nelson Mandela Oval in Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria, on Thursday, Govender intimated that the three ODI and three T20I tour starting on 27 November was a financial lifesaver for the organisation.

"England coming to South Africa is massive," she said.

"Financially, we really needed this. This last year, we've had a pretty decent year financially. We closed on a profit of R50 million despite having forecast an operating loss of R67 million.

"We were very fortunate that Covid-19 hit its peak in the country during our off-season. In order to maintain the financial health of the organisation, this English tour was critical.

"We are delighted about it, from a financial point of view and obviously from an administration point of view. But equally important, from a cricket point of view.

"We can't wait to present some content for the fans and we can't wait to be able to give something to our players, so they can get their teeth into it."

CSA has had a tetchy relationship with government of late because of boardroom troubles that have plunged the organisation into crisis since the end of 2019. The release of the Fundudzi report to the Sports Minister, Nathi Mthethwa, prompted him to write to CSA threatening government intervention.

However, they were able to convince government, who had England on the list of Covid-19 high-risk travel countries, of the critical need to have the internationals go ahead.

"There are various levels of approval that need to happen; it's bigger than cricket, bigger than sport and there's the health and safety of human beings at stake," Govender explained.

"It's something we have to take seriously as citizens, ahead of our jobs. We each have to make sure that people around us are kept safe.

"We've engaged a lot with Home Affairs, Health department as well as the Sports Ministry. We are delighted that we were able to provide enough mitigation against the risks, so that we can be able to host a successful event.

"We also took a lot of guidance from the ECB, who hosted Pakistan, Australia and the West Indies in their country during the peak of their pandemic.

"They hosted a successful series with zero Covid-19 cases. The key takeaway here is that CSA did everything and beyond to ensure that we have a safe tournament for all."

The Proteas and England matches will all be played in the Western Cape. The visitors will arrive mid-November and quarantine for 10 days before the start of the official matches, which end 9 December.

Govender was confident that their preparation to host a nation that has been playing cricket almost throughout the lockdown, against the West Indies, Pakistan and Australia, would ensure that the Proteas were competitive at home.

The last time England were in the country, they took away a 3-1 Test series victory as well as the T20I series 2-1.

"The preparation programme began a while ago," Govender said.

"It started with the culture camp and there have been one-on-one training sessions within a lot of coaching frameworks.

"This is all in preparation for a season where [we want] minimal injuries and there's maximum time for conditioning.

"As a federation, we've also had to change gear a little bit and do things a bit differently, and we have risen to that occasion."

Source: News24

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