Cricket SA match officials return negative Covid-19 tests ahead of start of new season

Graeme Smith says it is all systems go in as far as match officials go.
Graeme Smith says it is all systems go in as far as match officials go.
Image: Bertram Malgas/Gallo Images

Umpires and cricket officials were tested for Covid-19 ahead of the start of the Cricket South Africa (CSA) season next month and director of cricket Graeme Smith announced on Monday that all the tests returned negative results.

Smith said the officials congregated in Gauteng for a four-day build-up conference in preparation for the return to playing next month where International Cricket Council (ICC) elite umpires Michael Gough from England and South Africa’s Marais Erasmus gave inputs.

“I am very happy to report that our match officials without exception returned negative tests with our medical team at the start of the conference and I congratulate them all for the responsible attitude they are bringing to the fore in these difficult times‚” said Smith.

The former Proteas captain said the conference covered all aspects of the match officials’ role with the participants writing exams on specific subjects as well as being exposed to the more practical aspects such as the latest developments in television technology.

“It is a very important part of our planning for the season ahead‚” said the 39-year-old.

“We benefited from extremely valuable input from sports psychologist Dr. Dawn Saunders.”

While CSA’s administration fights for its existence‚ the embattled cricket governing body announced last month that domestic cricket will return on November 2 when the Four-Day Franchise Series begins.

All six franchises will be in action from November 2 to 5 where the Dolphins host the Lions in Durban.

The Warriors will travel to Bloemfontein to face the Knights while the Cape Cobras host the Titans in Cape Town.

The franchises have been split into two pools for both the red-ball and the Momentum One-Day Cup competition.

The postponement of the Mzansi Super League means that the Franchise T20 Cup will be contested on a single-round basis with the top two teams contesting the final.

Smith said he was satisfied with what has been achieved at the conference.

“This sort of interaction (conference) is incredibly valuable to our match officials‚” he said.

“They were also able to draw on the inspirational input from Marais Erasmus‚ our own representative on the ICC elite panel‚ who was able to relate his experiences at the 2019 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup final.

“Marais is a wonderful role model to all our umpires.

“It was fitting that he presented the official CSA black blazers to the two umpires recently promoted to our first-class panel‚ Abongile Sodumo and Mazizi Gampu‚” he concluded.

CSA First-Class Panel:

Murray Brown‚ Mazizi Gampu‚ Siphelele Gasa‚ Lubabalo Gcuma‚ Shaun George‚ Stephen Harris‚ Ryan Hendricks‚ Adrian Holdstock‚ Arno Jacobs‚ Bongani Jele‚ Tom Mokorosi‚ Allahudien Paleker‚ Dennis Smith‚ Abdoellaah Steenkamp‚ Abongile Sodumo‚ Philip Vosloo‚ Brad White.

CSA Reserve List Panel:

Lauren Agenbag‚ Rudi Birkenstock‚ Gawie Botha‚ Jannie Erasmus‚ Gladman Gaseba‚ Marlon Jansen‚ Kevin Lawrence‚ Sinethemba Mjekula‚ Bongani Ntshebe‚ Jurie Sadler‚ Godwin von Willingh.

CSA Match Referees:

Shandre Fritz‚ Devdas Govindjee‚ Barry Lambson‚ Zama Ndamane‚ Laurence Matroos‚ Gerrie Pienaar‚ Shaid Wadvalla.