Half Of The 24 Players Named Are Not Based In Gauteng:
Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) attempt to tie knots in overcooked spaghetti is expected to continue given the tightening of travel restrictions in the Covid-19 regional hotspot. So the Solidarity Cup, a charity match featuring three teams of eight players in a single game of 36 overs in a complex new format called the 3TC, remains scheduled for Centurion ‘s vacant stands and abandoned grass banks on Saturday July 18.
Many wondered how this could be, given that Centurion is in Gauteng, the epicenter of coronavirus infections in a country that is, the World Health Organization said on Monday (July 13), among the four in which the disease spreads most rapidly. As a result, on Sunday, leisure travel across provincial borders was banned.
Half of the 24 players named in the three 3TC squads are not based in Gauteng, which seems to take them out of the mix. Business travel is allowed, however, and a leading media house reported that the players would arrive on Tuesday.
Originally, CSA wanted to play the game on June 18, but could not obtain the government’s express permission in time. Two alternative venues-Skukukuza and Potchefstroom, none of them in Gauteng-were on stand-by should anti-virus regulations force a change of strategy.
Overarching health issues aside, 3TC’s complexities could impede its recognition as more than a gimmicky tool for the first cricket facsimile to be played in South Africa since the country entered the lockdown in March.
For example, the remaining non-out player after the rest of the team has been shot will continue to fight-but only if they are able to scam back for a second run or hit a four or six.
Some would find out that cricket was not going to be played in South Africa between April and September. Then why do you hurry a sloppy gnu like 3TC blinking in the poor winter sunshine?
Since the organizers aim to raise as much as USD 178,000 for a poverty fund intended to alleviate some of the financial distress the virus has put on people in the broader cricket community whose bills can’t remain unpaid until the game begins again.
And because, if Saturday’s event helps 3TC resolve the confusion of how it would look and feel in practice, the format might help improve the game. With teams facing six overs from each of their opponent’s attacks, the hope is that the format would encourage weaker sides to share a field with stronger squads.
There are, then, many reasons to give 3TC a go, and to give it a go in a struggling economy here and now. Yet there are real and urgent concerns that it will be checked in the here and now of a pandemic.
“Life is a mixture of magic and pasta,” said Federico Fellini. CSA and its partners have been cooking pasta for weeks in this company. Tying knots in it with elegance and, most importantly, protection, is where the magic needs to be conjured.