Cricket could emerge as an unlikely saviour of South Africa’s World Cup soccer stadiums with the decision by Cricket South Africa (CSA) to stage a Twenty20 international at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.
South Africa underwent a massive building programme in an effort to make the country ready to host the month-long soccer extravaganza with the construction of five new stadiums while a further five underwent varying degrees of renovation.
There are concerns that following the tournament that concluded with Spain lifting the trophy for the first time on Sunday, the stadiums would become obsolete. However, the decision to host a Twenty20 match between South Africa and India at the Durban venue next January could open the way for other soccer stadiums to be utilised in a similar capacity.
“The game between South Africa and India is important for us to be able to take cricket to everyone,” CSA chief executive Gerald Majola said.
“We would like to utilise some of the soccer stadiums that were used during the World Cup to help us in that effort,” he said. Majola added that South Africa could benefit by the use of more stadiums to extend the domestic cricket season with an eye on setting up its own version of the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) T20 tournament.
“We can’t set up our own IPL because currently there is no window,” he explained. Currently, the Durban stadium falls short of meeting the ICC’S minimum playing area requirement but Majola said that the addition of an athletics track would help to increase the space available.