Franchise-based tournament priority as CSA withdraws from Australia tour, puts 2023 World Cup qualification under jeopardy
The cancellation of the series means Australia will be considered 3-0 winners and they will take home the points as the matches were scheduled under the ODI Super League.
Published: 14th July 2022 12:34 AM | Last Updated: 14th July 2022 12:34 AM | A+A A-
CHENNAI: In a clear sign of where international cricket is heading, Cricket South Africa (CSA) on Wednesday officially withdrew from a bilateral three-match ODI series against Australia to ensure all their key players are available for their domestic T20 League.
The yet-to-be-launched league is set to take place in the month of January and by informing Cricket Australia that it will not play the ODIs, CSA has put its men’s team’s direct qualification for the 2023 World Cup in jeopardy.
The cancellation of the series means Australia will be considered 3-0 winners and they will take home the points as the matches were scheduled under the ODI Super League. The top eight teams in the Super League have a direct entry to the 2023 World Cup scheduled to be hosted by India in October-November.
In a statement, CSA said it was engaged in talks with CA to find an alternate window to play the ODIs, but due to a busy international calendar, the option didn’t materialize. CA had announced its summer schedule towards May end, nearly a month after CSA revealed its intentions to host its domestic T20 League in January 2023.
“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 agreeable dates. CSA offered four options to that effect. Unfortunately, and to our disappointment, none of these were acceptable to Cricket Australia,” CSA Chief Executive Officer, Pholetsi Moseki said.
The decision means South Africa’s road to the 2023 World Cup has become all the more challenging. They are in the 11th spot with only four wins from 13 matches.
The Proteas now have eight matches left and they are against: 3 vs India (away), 2 vs The Netherlands and 3 vs England at home.
To qualify directly for the World Cup, South Africa have to win six of these eight matches, failing which they have to play the ICC Qualifiers against five Associate teams next June-July in Zimbabwe.
“CSA has agreed that the 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,” Moseki said.
That CSA is prioritising its domestic T20 league ahead of World Cup qualification doesn’t come as a surprise as it has been facing a financial crunch of late.
By ensuring all of its star players are available for the T20 tournament, CSA expects it to position just behind the IPL. At least a couple of IPL franchises are showing interest to own the league.
“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,” Moseki added.