x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Cricket to South African stadiums' rescue

Cricket could emerge as an unlikely saviour of South Africa's World Cup arenas with the decision to stage a Twenty20 international in Durban.

DURBAN // Cricket could emerge as an unlikely saviour of South Africa's World Cup football stadiums with the decision by Cricket South Africa (CSA) to stage a Twenty20 international at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban. South Africa underwent a massive building programme in an effort to make the country ready to host the month-long football extravaganza with the construction of five new stadiums while a further five underwent varying degrees of renovation.

There are concerns that following the tournament that concluded with Spain lifting the trophy on Sunday, the stadiums would become obsolete. However, the decision to host a Twenty20 match between South Africa and India at the Durban venue next January could open the way for other football stadiums to be utilised in a similar capacity. "The game between South Africa and India is important for us to be able to take cricket to everyone," Gerald Majola, the CSA chief executive, said. "We would like to utilise some of the football stadiums that were used during the World Cup to help us in that effort."

Majola added that South Africa could benefit by the use of more stadiums to extend the domestic cricket season with an eye on setting up its own version of the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) T20 tournament. "We can't set up our own IPL because currently there is no window," he explained. "We would like to see if it is possible to play at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg and a few other football grounds because we would be able to extend our season into August but it is important to see what the viability of the grounds are."

Currently, the Durban stadium falls short of meeting the International Cricket Council's (ICC) minimum playing area requirement. * Reuters