SA cricket row causes uncertainty

LONDON - English cricket chiefs asked yesterday for "clarification" about their tour matches in Johannesburg, which are threatened by a row between the Wanderers-based Gauteng Cricket Board and Cricket South Africa.

LONDON - English cricket chiefs asked yesterday for "clarification" about their tour matches in Johannesburg, which are threatened by a row between the Wanderers-based Gauteng Cricket Board and Cricket South Africa.

South Africa hosts the ICC Champions Trophy one-day tournament in September and October.

Yet the Wanderers was shunned yesterday for most of the event's top fixtures, even though the Johannesburg venue's 31 000 capacity makes the 'Bullring' the largest major cricket ground in South Africa.

The dispute between Gauteng, which last month accused CSA chief executive Gerald Majola of putting the national governing body at financial risk with the deal that was struck with the Indian Premier League (IPL), has also spread to England's tour of South Africa starting in November.

The November 13 Twenty20 fixture against England has been moved to Durban, while Bloemfontein takes over as host of the first one-day international a week later. Meanwhile, St George's Park in Port Elizabeth has replaced the Wanderers as the venue for the fourth and final Test against England from January 14 to 18.

England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief executive David Collier has written to Majola, stressing the need to cater for the many thousands of England supporters who have already made travel arrangements for the series.

"The possible changes to the itinerary clearly present some logistical challenges for the team as well as the travelling England spectators," Collier said in an ECB statement issued yesterday.

"We are expecting a large number of England supporters in South Africa and it is vital that we establish the exact position as quickly as possible. If there are changes to the itinerary we have asked CSA to enter into urgent discussions with SA Tourism so that any additional costs can be mitigated and covered for travelling supporters."

The IPL switched to South Africa in April because of elections in India. - AFP

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