CSA confirms withdrawing from ODIs against Australia to ensure sustainability of new T20 League
Johannesburg, July 13 (IANS) Cricket South Africa (CSA) on Wednesday confirmed that the men's team will not be playing the ODI series against Australia in January 2023 in order to ensure "long term sustainability of new T20 League".
The three ODIs against Australia were a part of the ICC World Cup Super League matches that determine direct qualification for the 2023 Men's Cricket World Cup in India. The series was supposed to take place in 2020. But the Covid-19 pandemic forced its postponement.
Now, with CSA confirming that the series won't take place means it is a major setback to their hopes of qualifying directly for the 50-over World Cup in India. South Africa are currently placed at 11th spot in the ICC World Cup Super League points table with 49 points and face the possibility of playing a qualification tournament to enter the World Cup.
"As difficult as this decision has been for CSA, the long-term sustainability of our new T20 League is reliant on having all our domestic players available for this exciting new addition to the CSA calendar. CSA is looking forward to be hosted by Cricket Australia for an enticing blend of cricket in the three-Test series which includes the Boxing Day and New Year's Tests in Melbourne and Sydney," said Pholetsi Moseki, Chief Executive Officer, CSA in a statement.
Moseki further remarked that it has no qualms with the Super League points being awarded to Australia. "CSA has agreed that ICC award Australia the competition points. While we are saddened at losing the crucial points, we are confident that our in-form Proteas team will garner the requisite points through the remaining games to secure automatic qualification to the showpiece event in India next year.
"CSA is always keen on honouring its bilateral commitments. While CSA is committed to honouring its fixtures in respect of the Future Tours Programme there will sometimes be unforeseen circumstances that would negate this resolve.
"In the case of the Australia tour, CSA reached out to its counterpart months ago to reschedule the tour to mutually aggregable dates. CSA offered four options to that effect. Unfortunately, and to our disappointment, none of these were acceptable to Cricket Australia."
The upcoming T20 League, which CSA will organise in association with broadcasters SuperSport in the form of a new company, will be the third time South Africa would be attempting to launch a franchise T20 league in the country.
In its previous attempts, the attempt to start Global League T20 failed to happen in 2017, while its replacement, the Mzansi Super League was held in 2018 and 2019 but didn't get the big broadcast rights, with the free-to-air South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) getting broadcast rights for a much smaller sum. The league hasn't been played since 2020 due to Covid-19 pandemic.
Earlier in the day, Cricket Australia (CA) said, "Cricket South Africa (CSA) had asked Cricket Australia (CA) to reconsider the dates of the three matches originally set aside for January 12-17 due to a clash with their new franchise T20 league, but CA announced today they have been unable to find alternative dates to reschedule the series."