Border cricket has received a major boost ahead of the new cricket season after receiving a cash injection of R7.2-million from Cricket South Africa towards Buffalo Park stadium.
It will go towards buying new equipment and help make the ground a world-class facility.
With an international match against Bangladesh on the horizon and the possibility that East London will be one of the host cities of the T20 Global League in December, there is a wave of excitement in Border cricket. “The last time we received this kind of injection was a number of years ago when we were preparing for the World Cup,” Border Cricket CEO Thando Booi said.
“This is part of CSA’s drive to make sure that all the ICC-accredited stadiums are ready and able to cater for international events, so it will go a long way to ensuring that we have got a world-class facility.”
“We have been fortunate to have been in the top three in the country in terms of facilities for the last two years with old equipment, so this will go a log way to help us become one of the leaders in terms of our facilities in the country.”
CSA has earmarked more than R350-million to be invested in stadium refurbishment and upgrades over the next three years across the country.
Of this sum, R200-million will be invested during the next few months in improvements like cutting-edge artificial lighting systems, advanced sports field technology and LED scoreboards, as well as revamping change rooms and media centres.
“We have already started on our upgrades and there is a considerable amount of work we are doing at the moment,” Border cricket stadium manager Stuart Fortuin said.
“We have started refurbishing the Bunkers Hill stand and media centre, as well as giving a general facelift to the stadium and the grounds. We will also upgrade the lights and the scoreboard, and install a second scoreboard at a later date.”
“Obviously the different sections have their own time frames to be finished by, but we are hoping that everything will be finished by the start of September, ready for the new season.”
A host of new equipment has also been purchased which will go a long way towards improving not only Buffalo Park, but other cricket grounds across the Border region.
“We have started using the equipment already in preparation for the coming season, but we will also be using this equipment to help across the Border region,” Booi said.
“This is so that we can make sure that all the grounds – from club grounds such as Police, Hams and United, as well as grounds in Alice and Healdtown – are up to standard.”
The announcement on the host cities for the T20 Global league will be made in England on Monday morning.