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One-day series to prepare South Africa for Cricket World Cup2 minutes read

South Africa is still undecided on its best 15 players for the World Cup in May

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South African Cricket Players
South African players celebrate at St. George's Park Stadium in Port Elizabeth - AFP

The Cricket World Cup looms large for both South Africa and Sri Lanka when they meet in a five-match one-day international series starting at the Wanderers Stadium on Sunday.

While South Africa will be keen to get back to winning form after shock losses to the Lankans in two home Tests, both teams appear to be undecided on their best 15 players for the World Cup in England and Wales, starting in May.

South Africa have picked a 14-man squad packed with bowlers for the first three internationals, indicating the matches could help decide their best bowling combinations for the World Cup, while Sri Lanka have a squad of 17 players, two more than they can take to the global event.

Both teams have moderate recent records. South Africa have won 12 and lost 10 matches since the start of 2018, while Sri Lanka have six wins, 13 losses and a no-result in the same period.

Sri Lanka lost all three matches in New Zealand last month after veteran fast bowler Lasith Malinga was appointed captain.

South Africa’s one-day squad includes only five of the players who appeared in the Tests and Sri Lanka have retained only seven of the victorious Test team – but Sri Lanka’s Test wins are sure to add spice to the series despite the change in format and likely conditions.

South Africa will welcome a return to the faster pitches of Johannesburg and Centurion, venue of the second match, after losing the Test matches on the slower surfaces of Durban and Port Elizabeth, where the third and fourth matches will be played.

Fast bowlers Lungi Ngidi and uncapped Anrich Nortje, both recovered after long-term injuries, could provide a challenge to the Sri Lankan batsmen, while veteran Dale Steyn will be keen to show that he is still worth a World Cup place.

The South African selectors will be monitoring the fitness of JP Duminy, regarded as a key player if South Africa are to challenge at the World Cup.

He was due to return to domestic cricket with the Cape Cobras on Friday after missing most of the season because of a shoulder injury. 

Duminy was not picked for the first three one-day internationals but it is hoped he will play in the last two matches.

Sri Lanka’s squad has been bolstered by the inclusion of experienced players Malinga, Upul Tharanga and Thisara Perera who did not play in the Tests.

Squads:

South Africa: Faf du Plessis (capt), Quinton de Kock (wkt), Reeza Hendricks, Imran Tahir, David Miller, Wiaan Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Dale Steyn, Rassie van der Dussen.

Sri Lanka: Lasith Malinga (capt), Niroshan Dickwella (vice-captain, wkt), Akila Dananjaya, Dhananjaya de Silva, Avishka Fernando, Oshada Fernando, Vishwa Fernando, Kamindu Mendis, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Perera, Kusal Perera, Priyamal Perera, Thisara Perera, Kasun Rajitha, Lakshan Sandakan, Upul Tharanga, Isuru Udana.

Fixtures:

March 3, Johannesburg

March 6, Centurion

March 10, Durban

March 13, Port Elizabeth

March 16, Cape Town

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Southern Africa Sports

Zimbabwe FA rules out pay cut for national team coach

Zimbabwe FA say Zdravko Logarusic will not be asked to take a pay cut despite the crippling effect of the coronavirus pandemic

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Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) president Felton Kamambo has revealed that national team coach Zdravko Logarusic will not be asked to take a pay cut despite the crippling effect of the coronavirus pandemic.

ZIFA says they are still in a comfortable financial position to meet Logarusics’ monthly salary as per contract. Less than a month after he took over as the Warriors coach, football in the country went into lockdown.

Logarusic had earlier said he does not feel comfortable receiving his salary when he has not worked for it and wants international football to resume very soon.

Kamambo said the contract with expatriates should not be affected by footballs inactivity, but says it will be discussed when the board have their meeting.

The ZIFA president does not expect drastic decisions to be taken regarding Logarusic’s salary.

“We did our plan before hiring him so we will continue to pay our coach according to our contract. I am not expecting the board to make drastic charges on that.

“We are happy that for the first time the association is able to meet their financial obligations regarding the coach’s welfare. We don’t owe him any cent. We also don’t owe any of our staff members any money. ZIFA had gained notoriety for not paying coaches and at one time it even cost us a run in the World Cup qualifiers. But those are now things of the past. We have opened a new leaf as the association,” said Kamambo.

Kamambo also said ZIFA is trying to be transparent with its finances.

“We already have US$500 000 for the remaining six months. But we will not just spend because it was availed us a bit early. We will continue to operate the way we were doing so that by the time football returns we will be prepared to cater for all the national teams that have competitions that are currently on hold.

“We cannot have a situation where ZIFA are known as crybabies, seeking for resources at the eleventh hour every time. We have to (make a) budget and stick to that. So, the money we received will go to usual operations which include national teams travel, junior leagues as well as staff,” Kamambo said.

The ZIFA president said the COVID-19 relief package they requested from FIFA will be used to assist their affiliates.

“When the money comes, we will assist all our football affiliates. We will have a board meeting in two weeks’ time which will address all these issues related to the coronavirus and its effects on our game.”

ZIFA have provided $2 000 to each elite referee to help during these trying times, according to Kamambo, the funds were from savings in the organizations coffers in the first half of the year.

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Southern Africa Sports

Mogodi elected to Cricket South Africa board

The Council of Cricket South Africa have elected John Mogodi as a non-independent director to the Board of the CSA

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The Council of Cricket South Africa (CSA) has elected John Mogodi as a non-independent director to the Board of the CSA.

Mr. Mogodi is the president and chairman of the Board of Limpopo Impala Cricket.

“I am delighted to welcome Mogodi to the Board of CSA,” commented CSA Board chairperson Chris Nenzani.

“He has already made an important contribution to various Board sub-committees and he is highly experienced in the areas of cricket administration as well as financial and audit management.”

Mogodi fills the vacancy caused by the resignation of Jack Madiseng in December last year. Madiseng became the fourth member of Cricket South Africa’s Board of Directors and the first non-independent director to resign following the resignations of independent members; Shirley Zinn, Mohammed Iqbal Khan and Dawn Mokhobo.

In November 2019, Madiseng had written a letter to Cricket SA president Chris Nenzani and the body’s vice-president Beresford Williams in which he rebuked the pair for their failure to take responsibility for CSA’s woes and for leaving former CEO Thabang Moroe to take – as Madiseng put it – all the “klaps,” from the public and the players union, the SA Cricketers Association.

Mogodi is a qualified accountant from Pretoria University and served as a senior accountant at KPMG for three years before taking up his present position of accountant and project manager at Ditsie Financial Consultants. He serves on the Board of numerous companies and is currently a member of both the Audit and Risk Committee and the Finance and Commercial Committee of CSA.

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Du Toit decides to stay in South Africa

Pieter-Steph du Toit reverses decision to leave South African Super Rugby after initially giving notice he would terminate his contract

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World Rugby Player of the Year Pieter-Steph du Toit has reversed his decision to leave South African Super Rugby side, the Stormers, after initially giving notice he would terminate his contract.

A statement from the Cape Town-based outfit said the 27-year-old loose forward has withdrawn a contract termination notification made last week.

The announcement ends the intense speculation over du Toit’s future with a big-money move to France or Japan previously touted. The Stormers revealed that the 2019 World Cup winner will stay with them at least until after the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa, scheduled for July-August 2021.

“Pieter-Steph is an important team member,” Stormers coach John Dobson said in a statement on Thursday.

“His extraordinary work rate coupled with his ball carrying skills, makes our forward pack even more formidable.

“The rehabilitation on his [thigh] injury is progressing well and we are looking forward to seeing him in a Stormers jersey again when we get back on the field.

“We are proud as a union of our achievement of contracting eight Rugby World Cup-winning Springboks in the province and keeping them in the country.”

Rugby players in South Africa had been given a 21-day window to opt-out of their current contracts and become free agents in light of pay cuts forced on them by South African Rugby in a bid to save R1.2-billion ($US66.89 million) in expenditure in 2020. Players now face cuts of between 24% and 43% of their salaries between now and December.

South African media reported that Montpellier had offered Du Toit 75 million rand ($4.2mn/3.9mn euros) for a three-year deal, but the French club denied any interest.

Several Japanese sides were also reportedly interested in the 6ft 6.5″, 120-kilogramme flanker, whose younger brother, Johan, is another loose forward in the Stormers squad.

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