Johannesburg [South Africa], September 28 (ANI): Cricket South Africa (CSA) on Monday announced that the Mzansi Super League (MSL) has been postponed to November-December 2021.
"Cricket South Africa (CSA) regrets to confirm that the 2020 edition of the Mzansi Super League (MSL) has been postponed to November - December 2021," CSA said in a statement.
CSA's acting CEO, Kugandrie Govender, said the decision to postpone South Africa's premier T20 tournament is due to various national and international logistical reasons caused by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"As the ICC Men's T20 World Cup is scheduled to take place in India in October to November 2021, we understand the importance of providing domestic cricketers the opportunity to impress for selection. Therefore, in lieu of the MSL, CSA will stage a single-round domestic franchise T20 competition early next year. This will give players ample time to prepare and stadiums the chance to recover financially by welcoming fans back to support their favourite domestic players," Govender said in a statement.
In recognition of its importance, CSA will schedule this competition in the second half of the 2020/21 season.
"The 2020/21 global cricket calendar will be jam-packed, appreciating the ICC's efforts to fit as many missed international tours due to Covid-19, into this period. The impact of revised calendars for international cricket across all ICC Members and other T20 leagues, have had a knock-on effect on South African cricket scheduling," Govender said.
"The Covid-19 restrictions and uncertainty around international travel, including the state of control of South African borders, as well as border control at the country points of departure of international players, also compelled CSA to make this rational decision. Also, the unavailability of national players due to a revised and saturated season, would have diluted the quality that CSA envisions for MSL," he added.
Coupled with these considerations, CSA also deliberated that its international broadcast revenue or earnings could decrease should the MSL tournament continue without the international and national cricket superstars that local and international fans have come to expect, especially following the first two successful editions in 2018 and 2019.
"The MSL teams and headline sponsor, while equally disappointed, have expressed their understanding to CSA and reaffirmed their commitment to the MSL T20 tournament when it resumes in 2021," CSA said.
"It is unfortunate but unavoidable that we have had to take this decision but maintaining the high quality of cricket that we have seen in the first two editions of the MSL is a non-negotiable for CSA. The fact that we would have to play in empty grounds was another consideration, not only financially but also for player morale and team spirit, which links to fan support. The atmosphere and encouragement our fans have brought to first two editions have been significant and contributed incredibly to the MSL's success. We would not want to lose out on that or the opportunity to position the league as an important way to attract new fans to the game. We look forward to returning to business as usual next season," Govender concludes. (ANI)