JOHANNESBURG: Cricket South Africa (CSA) and Sri Lanka Cricket have jointly confirmed the two-match, Betway Test Series scheduled to be played in Centurion and Johannesburg from 26 December will continue as planned.
"The series, which forms part of the ICC World Test Championship, is very much still on course and the boards look forward to a successful and competitive clash between two teams that are equally thrilled to return to red-ball action," the two boards jointly stated.
The joint statement was necessitated following England's decision lasy week to abandon their three-match series citing worries over COVID-19 infections.
CSA has publicly slammed England's "negative" attitude and declared there was no justified reason for the tour to be called off.
UK's Guardian quotes Zak Yacoob, CSA interim board chairman describing the tourists as having a negative attitude while reiterating his confidence in its COVID-19 proposals. The rebuke landed on Thursday morning as England confirmed their tour of India early next year, which will include a day-night Test at the newly built Sardar Patel Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad.
Yacoob said the postponement of the three-match series, at England’s request, had caused CSA reputational damage and warned the governing body would defend itself against “lies” as to the reasons behind the cancellation.
Meanwhile, discussions SLC held with Sri Lanka's Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Namal Rajapaksa ended with the decision to honour the commitments made under the FTP. This was followed by an assessment conducted by the SLC Medical Unit headed by Professor Arjuna De Silva, who advised SLC to proceed with the series.
The Sri Lanka Men’s team will leave for South Africa as scheduled, while head coach Mickey Arthur, accompanied by a health specialist will travel with immediate effect to South Africa to further assess the situation and make necessary arrangements for the team’s arrival.
CSA acting CEO Ms Kugandrie Govender said: “Cricket South Africa appreciates the ongoing support from Sri Lanka Cricket under the leadership of Ashley de Silva, who has never wavered in its willingness to engage us in important and open discussions around our plans and the state of our readiness for the tour. We are thankful that these discussions have allayed any trepidation around CSA’s ability to successfully host home tours in these unpredicted times.
“As always, we are excited to host the Sri Lankan team in this important, World Test Championship series that will yield crucial points towards the points table for the eventual winners. We are also certain that cricket fans around the world will tune in for another series of thrilling cricket on display.”
Betway Test Series against Sri Lanka
Saturday, 26-30 December 2020 at 10:00 SAST:
1st Betway Test match (WTC) South Africa v Sri Lanka, SuperSport Park, Centurion
Sunday, 03-07 January 2021 at 10:00 SAST:
2nd Betway Test match (WTC) South Africa vs Sri Lanka, Imperial Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg