02 Jan

Cricket South Africa’s (CSA’s) Members’ Council and interim executive board have accepted, in principle, the restructuring of elite domestic competitions. 

“CSA’s Members’ Council has resolved to accept the recommendations of the David Richardson Task Team to restructure the domestic game,” a press release reads. 

“This follows months of consultation between CSA and the South African Cricketers’ Association (SACA) after a roadmap for the process was initially drawn up in February 2020. 

CSA has been eager to restructure domestic cricket for some time with most in agreement that a six-team franchise structure was not the best model to address the challenges of cricket in South Africa. 

The Acting CSA Members’ Council President, Rihan Richards said: “The resolution to accept and approve the Richardson Committee’s recommendation to restructure the domestic competition is the culmination of a process over many years. It heralds a new era for CSA and its affiliates.” 

According to CSA, under the new structure, the current six-team franchise cricket make-up will be dissolved and replaced by a 15-team first-class system. The format will see the teams split 8-7 into a Division 1 and Division 2 arrangement with automatic promotion and relegation to be implemented. 

CSA believes this automatic promotion and relegation system will help to provide healthy tension in the system and enhance a high-performance environment, while providing an opportunity for those Division 2 Members, who want to be part of a competitive first division to win their way into elite competition. 

The calendar for Division 1 will be similar to the current system where the eight teams will play four-day, one-day and the Twenty20 cricket (MSL) all in a single round. 

The same eight teams will also compete in a domestic T20 knockout tournament with the seven teams from Division 2, whose season will comprise of a four-day and one-day competition. Division 2 players will have an opportunity to play in the Mzansi Super League (MSL) via a Player Draft. Proteas and other international players will also feature in the Player Draft. 

The 8-7 divisional split is set to be determined by a “Bid process” in which CSA will evaluate each Member based on performance, both current and historical, against defined Evaluation Criteria, as well as its Strategic Plan for running and sustaining a professional team within this new professional era at Affiliate Member level. 

The enhancement will include: an improved contract system, an increase in the number and quality of opportunities as well as an improvement of leadership talent within CSA’s coaching structures. The proposed competition structure will offer more opportunities to players at the highest first-class domestic level, essentially widening the talent pool for the national selectors. 

“After considering the wide-ranging review and consultative process undertaken, the Interim Board recommended adoption of the new domestic cricket structure by the Members’ Council. This new structure will better serve our transformation goals which includes providing increased playing opportunities at the highest domestic level,” remarked Interim Board chairperson Judge Zak Yacoob. 

SACA had previously objected to plans to restructure the game because the number of contracted professional players was likely to dip despite more teams competing. The player’s union have yet to comment on the restructuring.   

John Stephenson 


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