Johannesburg — Cricket South Africa suffered another blow on Monday, with the decision to call off the 2022 version of the Mzansi Super League because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The tournament, which was cancelled last season as well because of the pandemic, was scheduled to take place next February, but was called off for what CSA described as difficulties in making it a “premium international T20 tournament,” because of the increased travel restrictions imposed by a number of countries against South Africa.
Those travel bans were imposed after the local scientists identified the Omicron variant of the virus.
“Restrictions such as stricter travel possibilities, the Bio-Secure Environment frustrations, fear of the new variant, and the weak Rand/US Dollar exchange rate are some of the main reasons why CSA has taken the decision to call off the 2022 version of the MSL,” CSA said in a statement on Monday.
The organisation had secured a sponsor, something it had had difficulty with in previous seasons since the tournament was first held in 2018 while a limited number of overseas players were due to paritcipate. Only two editions of a tournament CSA had hoped would generate similar enthusiasm as the Indian Premier League, the Pakistan Super League and Australia’s Big Bash, have taken place.
“The decision to cancel the 2021 edition of the MSL is meant to allow CSA and its strategic partners to revamp and review the tournament post-Covid-19 to regain its market and commercial position,” said CSA’s acting CEO, Pholetsi Moseki. “For its purposes, the MSL slot will again be replaced by a domestic CSA T20 Challenge, featuring the 8 (eight) Division 1 teams and this tournament will take place in February 2022.”
With the Proteas scheduled to tour New Zealand at the same time, the competition will lack the star quality it so desperately needs to attract an audience.
The original concept, titled the T20 Global League, fell apart because of the failure to agree a broadcast deal in 2017, leading to the axing of CSA’s then CEO, Haroon Lorgat.