TELFORD VICE, Cape Town
THE Eastern Cape is the home of SA cricket, but it is also the big loser in next season’s international fixture list.
SA will play 19 matches against New Zealand, England and Australia at home between August and March. However, only one game has been bequeathed to the Eastern Cape: the second one-day international against England on February 6, which is scheduled for St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth.
By contrast, the Wanderers, Newlands, Kingsmead and Centurion will each host SA four times. That means almost two thirds of the fixtures will be played at just more than a third of the country’s 11 established international venues.
But at least PE have a reason to strike up the band in the national cause – unlike the province’s other international venue, Buffalo Park in East London, which will have to hope for better luck next time.
That said, East Londoners are becoming used to cheering on their team in front of their televisions. SA have played there just seven times in the past 10 years.
Cricket has a rich black history in the rural Eastern Cape that stretches back more than a century, and the all-white SA side played their inaugural test at St George’s Park in March, 1889.
That counted for little on Friday when Cricket SA announced the fixtures for Australia’s tour in March, SA’s last engagement of the summer.
SA v Australia:
March 4: 1st T20, Kingsmead
March 6: 2nd T20, Wanderers
March 9: 3rd T20, Newlands