Kagiso Rabada and Sisanda Magala have had to pull out of the exhibition 3TC match on July 18 due to the death of immediate family members. Chris Morris is also unavailable, although no reason has been given for his absence. Thando Ntini, son of former pacer Makhaya Ntini, Bjorn Fortuin and Gerald Coetzee have been named as the replacements.
Heinrich Klaasen, who was in the original 24-player group, will captain the Kingfishers in Rabada's absence. AB de Villiers and Quinton de Kock will captain the two other eight-member teams for the experimental contest that marks the return of cricket in the country for the first time in over three months.
The event was originally planned for June 27, but had to be moved after Cricket South Africa failed to obtain government permission to play. The players' return to train and play protocols were okayed on June 29.
Though South Africa remains in lockdown, and the Covid19 infection rate has been on the rise, players have been given permission to travel to Centurion for this weekend's match. SuperSport Park is located in the Gauteng province, which is the epicenter of the pandemic. The match, however, will take place behind closed doors.
It could also the only time in the forseeable future that South African players will appear in a competitive game with the Future Tours Program uncertain and their long-term plans unclear. "We're very excited to get back onto the field," said fast bowler Dwaine Pretorius. "In a way it is a little bit bitter-sweet because after this we don't know when we'll be back again, but for now we're just looking forward to this opportunity."
While the fixture aims to raise funds for CSA's Hardship Funds, designed to help those who have lost their livelihoods during the pandemic, it has been clouded in controversy since its inception by the company 3TC.
South African coach Mark Boucher was listed as a company shareholder in a document circulated late last month. CSA, Boucher and 3TC all denied the claim and CSA threatened to take legal action against those responsible for creating what they called a "fraudulent" document.
Weeks later, by which time players from England and West Indies had participated in an on-field show of support for the Black Lives Matter movement, director of cricket Graeme Smith was asked whether South African players would use the 3TC event to do the same.
Smith indicated that they would but had yet to decide how they would demonstrate their backing for anti-racism. On Wednesday, CSA reaffirmed their support to the BLM movement.
"CSA and its Affiliate Members affirm their commitment to a process of transformation based on the principle of broad-based empowerment and affirmative action that will continue to increase the number of people involved in the game; increase accessibility to all participants and participant groupings; and consistently improve performances," read a CSA statement.
"CSA continues to focus on the transformation of the sport at every level, and invested nearly R385 million in cricket transformation and development in the 2019/2020 financial year, and met its transformation targets at the development level in the 2019/2020 season. CSA's intention is to continue to invest resources in transformation as they did in the past and measure impact with incentives and consequences."