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SA captains fear suspension from T20 World Cup

In a joint statement, South Africa Cricketers’ Association (SACA) and the national team captains have expressed their concerns over government’s threat to intervene the cricket board.

SA captains fear suspension from T20 World Cup
South Africa cricket enters into crisis again. Photo: AFP

 

On Saturday, South Africa’s Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa threatened to sanction Cricket South Africa (CSA). This could lead to ICC suspending cricket’s powerhouse South Africa. 

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SACA President Khaya Zondo, men’s captains Temba Bavuma and Dean Elgar, and women’s captain Dane van Niekerk fear government intervention will have ‘dire consequences’ which include isolation from the global game as well as impact on sponsorship deals.

“The governance crisis that has engulfed cricket for over 18 months has now escalated to the point where the Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture has formally noted his intent to intervene in the sport. We respect the fact that the Minister has shown great patience in dealing with the governance crisis, and the events as they unfolded at the Special General Meeting of 17 April 2021, were in bad faith and disrespectful not only to his office, but to all cricketers and the public,” the statement read.

“Government intervention in the sport will have dire consequences, the full extent of which we do not yet know. The right to represent South Africa may be withdrawn and the ICC may suspend Cricket South Africa. These outcomes will in turn impact touring, broadcast rights and sponsorship deals. Ultimately the financial viability of the game will suffer and cricket at all levels will be severely prejudiced.

“The Members’ Council has now acted contrary to the wishes of the Minister, the Nicholson Recommendations, King IV Governance principles, and international best practice – how can this be in the best interests of our game?

“The Momentum Proteas Women’s team has enjoyed unparalleled success over the past 14 months, and the women’s game in South Africa is on the verge of significant expansion. The development of the game is now under serious threat, and at a time when we should be enthusiastic about the future, we have to be concerned about its future.”

The 2021 T20 World Cup in India does not include Zimbabwe, and that is for similar reasons. The ICC handed Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) suspension in 2019 over government intervention. Zimbabwe men’s team could not take part in the qualifiers that year.

The SACA and the captains fear the men’s team could miss out on the mega event scheduled for October-November this year.   

“The Proteas Men’s team has an ICC World T20 Event in November. Preparation has already started for this event, and the current state of cricket administration undermines our work in this regard. It may even lead to our suspension from this event should the ICC decide to suspend South Africa.”

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