Cricket in Bay set for gradual return

EP Cricket services manager Colin Gxowa said this week they envisioned a return to league action in mid-October with the commencement of the Premier and Promotion T20 leagues
CHANCE TO PLAY: EP Cricket services manager Colin Gxowa said this week they envisioned a return to league action in mid-October with the commencement of the Premier and Promotion T20 leagues
Image: BRIAN WITBOOIi

Cricketers might be in their off-season preparing for the challenges that lie ahead, but work behind the scenes has been ongoing as Eastern Province Cricket looks to slowly bring action back to the fields.

EPC services manager Colin Gxowa said this week that the 50-overs Premier and Promotion T20 leagues would start in mid-October, with all other forms of the game expected to get under way in January.

This comes after the game was suspended in accordance with a directive by national governing body Cricket SA, who followed the trend of major sporting codes when they terminated all cricket activities for 60 days on March 16.

The decision by CSA followed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s national address on March 15 in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic. The 60-day period came to an end last Saturday [May 16].

A day after CSA’s announcement in March, EPC heeded the call and brought to an end their activities by informing all stakeholders of their decision.

The suspension included first-class and List A cricket, as well as semi-professional, provincial, junior and amateur cricket. . 

“The Nelson Mandela Bay Cricketers Association decided that there would be no formal winners of the various leagues for the 2019/20 season,” the March memo said.

The decision also negated the possibility of any promotion or relegation happening for the season in question.

Furthermore, the memo indicated that the structure for the 2020/21 season would remain unchanged in terms of the number of teams competing in the various leagues.

“Premier and Promotion leagues will start in mid-October. Thereafter the 50-overs league will commence,” the memo stated.

“However, this decision will be determined by the situation in the country once we have been given the normal operational status by the president of SA and clearance by CSA.” 

In addition, the NMBCA, after a directive by CSA, will begin the commencement of all other leagues in January 2021.

A statement issued by CSA on Monday informed all stakeholders of the plan going forward, mentioning the use of a four-pillar strategy to try to manage the “unprecedented crisis”. 

The statement further said that CSA was trying to secure an audience with the minister of sports, recreation, arts & culture to present and discuss the protocols with him.

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