‘Inland cricket’s future in city’s hands’

2007-12-20 00:00

IN a meeting that took place yesterday, KZN Inland Cricket Union president Chris van der Merwe said the Msunduzi Municipality must decide how it sees the future of the first-class game in the midlands region.

The meeting, that also included KZN Cricket CEO Cassim Docrat and acting municipal manager Zwe Hulane heard with shock that the city authority has booked a cycling event at the Maritzburg Oval at the same time that an important Inland cricket fixture is to take place.

“This was done without consulting Inland cricket,” Van der Merwe told The Witness yesterday.

“February 7 to 10 features an Oval fixture booked a year in advance for the Inland versus South Western Districts encounter, so cycling simply cannot take place at the same venue during this time.

Inland have to give assurances to Cricket South Africa that we have a first-class facility in place here, so the municipality must decide where their priorities lie with regard to the game, otherwise we might as well forget about promoting the midlands as a quality cricket region.

“The ball is in their court.”

Van der Merwe said the municipal officials indicated they understood the situation and would go back to cycling to reconsider the decision that has resulted in a double booking.

The meeting was originally scheduled to discuss issues surrounding criticism of the PMB Oval’s fitness as a first-class venue following the KZN Dolphins versus Western Cape Cobras match three weeks ago.

The municipality owns the ground and media stories abounded after the public attending the match expressed their unhappiness with the state the famous venue was in.

Among a litany of complaints, the fact that the municipal mowers broke down was probably the most significant in cricket terms as the outfield was far too long for a first-class match.

Docrat initially said the second Dolphins four-day SuperSport Series match at the venue, against the Eastern Cape Warriors from January 24 to 27, might be taken to Durban if the PMB Oval was not brought up to speed.

“Cassim said the match would still be at the Oval providing the facility is up to scratch, but there is no way there can be a repeat of the Cobras match,” Van der Merwe said.

“The municipality indicated they understand and, budget constraints notwithstanding, they will attend to the matter in time for this important match,” he said.

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