CSA gambles with World Cup qualifying points; wags finger of blame at Australia

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CSA CEO Pholetsi Moseki said he had been in constant contact with Cricket Australia in a bid to reschedule the tour to mutually agreeable dates. Photo: Gallo Images
CSA CEO Pholetsi Moseki said he had been in constant contact with Cricket Australia in a bid to reschedule the tour to mutually agreeable dates. Photo: Gallo Images


Cricket SA (CSA) has been pushed into a corner by its Australian equivalent. And, if CSA is to be believed, it sounds like the Aussies adopted an unconcerned approach.

CSA announced on Wednesday that it had pulled out of an outgoing three-match ODI series against Australia, which was to be played from January 12 to 17 2023. In so doing, it had agreed to forfeit 30 potential points on offer to Australia, thereby gambling with the Proteas’ automatic qualification for the 2023 Cricket World Cup, which is already in jeopardy.

CSA cancelled the ODI tour to Australia to cater for its pending new T20 league, which is said to be played in January next year. This means that South Africa has effectually lost the series 3-0.

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It will be an embarrassment for a cricket giant like South Africa to qualify for a World Cup through the play-offs. As things stand, the Proteas’ chances of an automatic qualification are slim. Only a reckless gambler would put money on South Africa’s qualification for next year’s 50-over World Cup in India.

The three cancelled ODIs are part of the ICC Super League matches that determine direct qualification for the 2023 men’s World Cup.

In a points table featuring 13 teams, South Africa are languishing near the bottom, in 11th place on 49 points after four wins from 13 matches.

Only minnows Zimbabwe and Netherlands are below South Africa, and they are not far off as they each have 35 and 25 points, respectively.

Zimbabwe will tour Australia, and Netherlands will host Pakistan next month, while South Africa will be hosted by England from July 19.

While it is almost unthinkable that Zimbabwe and Netherlands could win their respective Super League ODI series, stranger things have happened in cricket and South Africa could find themselves a laughing stock, propping up the points table.

The Super League is the new qualification pathway for teams for the men’s 10-team World Cup in 2023 in India.

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The top eight teams, including host nation India, will automatically qualify, while the other five countries will play in qualifiers with five other associate nations. Only two teams from the qualifiers will qualify for the World Cup.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Cricket Australia said: “CSA had asked them to reconsider the dates of the three matches originally set aside for January 12 to 17 due to a clash with their new franchise T20 league, but CA [Cricket Australia] announced today they have been unable to find alternative dates to reschedule the series.”

Knowing that their new T20 league had been set for January and would clash with the tour to Australia, CSA said it offered four options to Cricket Australia, none of which were acceptable.

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Even though CSA first announced its new T20 league in April, almost a year before its commencement, CSA said cancellation of the tour to Australia was due to “unforeseen circumstances”.

CSA CEO Pholetsi Moseki said he had been in constant contact with Cricket Australia in a bid to reschedule the tour to mutually agreeable dates.

“CSA has agreed that ICC award Australia the competition points,” said Moseki.

We are confident that our in-form Proteas team will garner the requisite points through the remaining games to secure automatic qualification.

The details around the new T20 league – its name, sponsors, teams’ names – are still sketchy. They may have been determined, but it appears CSA are not yet ready to publicly announce them.

CSA had to withdraw from the tour of Australia. That’s how seriously the organisation takes its new T20 league, said Moseki.

“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.”

While the ODI series falls off, Moseki said the scheduled test series would go ahead as planned.

“CSA is looking forward to being 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,” concluded Moseki.


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