Cricket South Africa (CSA) today unveiled an exciting plan to ensure players, fans and the broader public enjoy the traditional New Year fixture at Sahara Park Newlands.
The Festival of Cricket is an exciting three-day event which will see all the current Proteas and Franchise players participating in a New Year cricket extravaganza. CSA and the South African Rugby Union (SARU) are still engaged in discussion regarding a possible exhibition match.
The festival will showcase two highly competitive days of T20 cricket, firstly with a State of Origin match between North and South which takes place on Saturday, 4 January. The North will comprise players who first made their mark at the inland franchises and the South those from the coastal franchises.
This will be followed by a first for domestic cricket the following day, when the RAM SLAM T20 Challenge is launched with a triple header.
These matches will feature and involve all our current Proteas team, which was recently crowned South African Team of the Year at the SA Sports Awards.
The iconic Sahara Park Newlands, voted the 2nd best stadium in the world last season, will play host to this magnificent event.
“We were naturally disappointed with no test match cricket to be played in Cape Town over New Year but we were determined that our fans should not change their New Year’s date with Newlands,” explained CSA Chief Executive, Haroon Lorgat.
“We wanted to ensure the date and atmosphere at Newlands was not lost to our stakeholders, especially our fans, many of whom travel from abroad.”
In keeping with the carnival atmosphere in the Mother City at this time of year, CSA has lined up a host of top quality local artists to entertain those fans who will be lucky enough to get tickets. There will also be coaching clinics, signing sessions for fans, plus food, drinks and other stalls to make sure the traditional visit to Newlands will be fun filled and exciting.
The Protea players are excited about the festival concept and particularly the opportunity to renew the north-south rivalry.
“This is exciting stuff and I am a bit nervy playing against my teammates from the South,” commented AB de Villiers. “At least I won’t have to face Dale Steyn”, he remarked.
The Protea T20 captain, Faf du Plessis, said: “With a triple header to kick off our Ram Slam T20 competition, this tournament will be special as all of our best players will be competing. The stakes will be high and it won’t be easy for any team.”
The test captain, Graeme Smith, said: “Of course, we are disappointed not to play the icon test match at Newlands, but this event sounds exciting. I am confident all our Protea fans will turn up to support us in the various matches.”
With almost all of South Africa’s top players in attendance, there will be many opportunities for fans to see their cricket hero’s up close and personal.
SuperSport International have come on board as the official broadcast partner of the event.
“I sincerely wish to thank our broadcast and commercial partners as well as our fans for their patience and understanding during what was recently a tough period for CSA. The support of our fans has been nothing short of amazing and I hope the Festival of cricket will go some way to make them smile at Newlands,” added Lorgat.
Further details around the scheduling of events, ticket packages and pricing, artists and general logistics will be announced in the coming weeks.