Cricket South Africa (CSA) has decided to postpone the 2020 edition of the Mzansi Super League (MSL) amid the worsening coronavirus situation in the country.
The next MSL tournament will now be held in November-December 2021 as logistical challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic have caused the authorities to reach this unfortunate decision.
The MSL 2020 was supposed to be the third season of the competition but there was a possibility of being unable to avail the services of international stars owing to border restrictions and compressed cricket calendar.
“As the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup is scheduled to take place in India from October to November 2021, we understand the importance of providing domestic cricketers with the opportunity to impress for selection," said CSA's acting CEO Kugandrie Govender.
"Therefore, in lieu of the MSL T20, CSA will stage a single-round domestic franchise T20 competition early next year. This will give players ample time to prepare and stadiums the chance to recover financially by welcoming fans back to support their favourite domestic players.”
The CSA had mulled over a plan of staging the MSL without the presence of foreign recruits but the board reasoned it would have dampened the charm.
Additionally, the crises-laden CSA assessed that going ahead with the tournament this year would have cost them huge losses instead of generating broadcast revenue.
The six franchises are reportedly not happy with this development but have been forced to accede to the CSA verdict.
“It is unfortunate but unavoidable that we have had to take this decision but maintaining the high quality of cricket that we have seen in the first two editions of the MSL is a non-negotiable for CSA," Govender stated.
"The fact that we would have to play in empty grounds was another consideration, not only financially but also for player morale and team spirit, which links to fan support.
"The atmosphere and encouragement our fans have brought to the first two editions have been significant and contributed incredibly to MSL’s success. We would not want to lose out on that or the opportunity to position the league as an important way to attract new fans to the game."
The Faf du Plessis-captained Paarl Rocks won last year's MSL, which featured the likes of Chris Gayle, Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz, Moeen Ali and Jason Roy among a host of international players.