The long-talked-about domestic Restructure in cricket has finally come to fruition. CSA announced this week that the domestic setup has been changed as of next season. The change will see 15 teams split into division 1 and division 2.
Division 1 consists of Boland, Eastern Province, Free State, Gauteng, KZN, Northerns, North West and Western Province
Division 2 will be made up of Border, Eastern, KZN inland, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape and South Western Districts.
There will also be promotion and relegation, but this will only take effect during the 2023/2024 season, so teams have time to find their feet in the new format.
There has been no news yet about how this will affect the one-day competitions, but it’s likely to be a similar situation.
In my opinion, this ultimately will be a good thing for SA cricket. We might go through a few teething problems with players moving around, provincial setups adjusting to different budget and a change in players pool, but once the finer details are transparent, the system should grow from strength to strength.
The way the system is set up will result in all Provinces becoming self-sufficient. Hopefully, in time they all have huge sponsorships and cricket in this country can finally be what it should be.
On the pitch, the quality, in the beginning, might be somewhat diluted, but as we unearth more talent in other areas of the country, I believe we will get a glimpse into just how much talent we actually have.
These changes will result in more pathways into First-Class cricket and ultimately lead to a more competitive and high-quality domestic scene. Which, in turn, will create a better Proteas setup and may make us world-beaters again.
A word of warning, this will take time, and we will only see real results probably 3 to 5 years into this plan. SA sports fans are among the most impatient I have seen, and the pressure will be on the powers that be to persevere through the tough times to get the praise that will come with a number 1 test ranking and potentially a World Cup winners medal.
As fans, we must be patient and allow them to work out the kinks and give CSA time to implement this new system.
Ultimately, I can see this as a defining moment for Graeme Smith and Cricket South Africa. It will be for all the right reasons, and in the coming years, we can focus more on results on the pitch than what is happening at the boardroom level. Hopefully, this can be the first step to getting SA cricket back to where it should be.