KwaZulu-Natal is set to have two teams in Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) new domestic structure coming into play in May.
The structure will see the current six-team franchise cricket make-up being dissolved and replaced by a 15-team first-class system.
The format will have the teams split 8-7 into a Division 1 and Division 2 arrangement with automatic promotion and relegation to be implemented.
The province will have the Dolphins representing KZN Coastal in the new structure, while the Pietermaritzburg-based KZN Inland will represent the Midlands area.
This is great news for Inland, who around this time last year were fighting possible closure as they were not part of the then CSA’s new structure of 12 provincial teams.
The previous 12-team structure, which was strongly opposed by the South African Cricketers Association through a legal action, involved only CSA affiliates and Inland are an associate of KZN Cricket Union (KZNCU).
KZNCU chief executive Heinrich Strydom confirmed to The Witness that Inland had been included this time around but said there were still a few things that needed to be sorted out.
“KZN will have two teams and that means we will have Inland as well,” said Strydom.
“We will still be one union but still trying to figure out a lot of things. I presume that the Dolphins will be in the top eight and you will have Inland playing in the bottom seven.”
Strydom also confirmed that there will be no name change for the Durban-based outfit as many thought it will be rebranded as KZN Coastal.
“We will keep the Dolphins brand, but it will no longer be representing Inland, it’s only representing coastal technically.”
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While the news of Inland making the cut this time around, the union is still facing a serious challenge as Msunduzi Municipality keeps dragging its feet on the renewal of Pietermaritzburg’s City Oval stadium lease. The issue has been going on for three years now.
“I have tried to intervene as well and all the time when we get the feedback it says they are happy and will send us the paperwork, but we are still waiting,” said Strydom.
“It is difficult because you don’t have any long term, you can’t do anything.”
Rain ends Knights-Titans match
Meanwhile, heavy overnight rain followed by more wet weather on Monday morning forced match three of the Momentum One-Day Cup between the VKB Knights and Momentum Multiply Titans to be abandoned without a ball being bowled in at Senwes Park in Potchefstroom.
The two teams were both searching for a first win of Group A after losing out to the Dolphins over the weekend, but their prospects of reaching the play-offs were dented by the washout.