Knights MSL T20 debut on ice

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VKB Knights captain, Pite van Biljon, batting for the Tshwane Spartans in the 2019 MSL T20. PHOTO: BACKPAGEPIX

The VKB Knights will have to wait a little longer to make their eagerly anticipated entry into the Mzansi Super League.

Earlier, Bloemfontein Courant broke the news that the 2020 MSL T20 would see two additional teams being entered in the former of the Knights and Border.

It is well documented that the global Covid-19 pandemic has taken its toll on sport worldwide, and this has been no different in South Africa. In fact, South Africa is most probably one of the worst hit countries in the world on the sporting front. This, and the deepening crisis within Cricket South Africa, are the two main reason for the postponement of the Mzansi Super League to 2021.

The embattled governing body has however started with plans to create a single-round T20 competition this season which will be contested between the six franchises in the country.
There will be T20 World Cup in India in 2021, and this is one of the main reasons that a tournament needs to be played in South Africa, before the national side is selected to head to the subcontinent.

The acting CEO of Cricket South Africa confirmed that the tournament will be played with the eye on the global showpiece.

“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.

“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.”

While it is disappointing that no MSL T20 cricket will be witnessed in Bloemfontein and Kimberley in 2020, the Knights welcomed the decision.

Head coach, Allan Donald, has assembled a squad of exciting T20 specialist for the upcoming season, and told Bloemfontein Courant that he expects fireworks when the tournament does get played.

“I think everyone is pretty excited about the chance of competing in this season’s tournament. Although it might be very short, you can really afford any mishaps. You’ve got to start and prepare really well. It’s going to be a real cliff-hanger of a tournament, that’s for sure. It can bring and offer a lot.”

The exact details of the tournament still need to be finalised and confirmed by Cricket South Africa. – MORGAN PIEK