Smith's message to SA cricket fans: We're working to get you back in the stadiums

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Graeme Smith (Getty Images)
Graeme Smith (Getty Images)
  • CSA Director of Cricket Graeme Smith is hoping to get fans back into the stands for April's limited-overs series between the Proteas and Pakistan.
  • Smith stated that CSA is working with the government to bring "some element of fans in the stadium".
  • The Proteas host Pakistan in three ODIs and four T20Is in April.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) Director of Cricket Graeme Smith is hopeful that SA fans will be able to cheer on the Proteas in April's limited-overs series against Pakistan.

Since 26 March 2020, sports fans have been prohibited from attending any live matches in South Africa despite several Covid-19 restrictions having been lifted.

Professional sports events have returned to the country since late last year albeit under strict health and safety protocols implemented and approved by the government.

With the Australian Test series postponed, CSA put together a three-match ODI and four-match T20I series against Pakistan in April at home.

Speaking in the commentary box to SuperSport's Pommie Mbangwa during the T20 Challenge Series, Smith stated that CSA is working with the government to potentially allow some fans back in the stadium.  

"We hope to have fans back and we've been working closely with the ministry on that," said Smith, during the T20 Challenge encounter between the Dolphins and the Lions in Durban.

"With the Pakistan tour coming up, we'd love to be able to have some element of fans in the stadium, to bring that atmosphere," said Smith.

"The amount of support we've received during these tough times has been crucial. Hopefully, our players and Cricket South Africa can reward that support."

Pakistan's tour to South Africa will be played behind-closed-doors in Gauteng from 2-16 April.

It's been a tumultuous start to Smith's tenure since he was appointed in December 2019, with CSA's ongoing governance issues hitting the headlines throughout 2020.

Apart from the Black Lives Matter movement and dealing with a global pandemic, South African fans saw sports minister Nathi Mthethwa appoint an interim board to get CSA back on track.

Smith is, however, optimistic about CSA's future.

"When I got involved in 2019, I didn't think it could get any worse. We certainly found ourselves in more challenging spaces post that," Smith told Mbangwa at Kingsmead.

"We've worked quite a bit behind the scenes and now the objective is to push forward and take ourselves out of this dark position we've been in.

"We'll see what happens in the next two months with the interim board and with their objective that they've got.

"Hopefully, when they implement the AGM the governance will be sorted out so we can all from an ops perspective get working and pushing on and improving our cricket," said Smith.

"I think it needs strong leadership at the top and we need good teams - both men and women - that's the big objectives going forward over the next period."

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