South Africa abandon ODI series as part of their Test tour of Australia later this year
Cricket South Africa (CSA) have officially withdrawn from the ODI leg of the Australia tour, scheduled to be held in January 2023. As things currently stand, the Proteas will play three Tests against Australia Down Under before returning home.
The highly-anticipated decision from the CSA comes in the wake of the nation's new domestic T20 competition. Hence, they have reportedly refused to let their players stay in Australia following the third Test in Sydney.
While the CSA had requested Cricket Australia to reschedule their 50-over fixtures, the latter announced their inability to find alternative dates. The Aussie men's team have a busy schedule leading up to the India tour in February-March 2023, which also includes the T20 World Cup at home in October-November 2022.
At the time of announcing the schedule, Cricket Australia chief Nick Hockley said:
"Whilst the timing of the ODI series against South Africa is set out in the future tours program, we have had a recent request from Cricket South Africa to reconsider the dates of the three games, but have been unable to find alternative dates as yet."
With the white-ball series canceled, the likes of Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Adam Zampa, Aaron Finch, Mitchell Marsh, and Ashton Agar will be free to play the entire BBL season. All-format stars like Steve Smith, David Warner, and Josh Hazlewood could also return to the tournament after boss Alistair Dobson declared his desire to have Australia's best players available for the same.
South Africa face a tricky task of directly qualifying for the 2023 World Cup
Meanwhile, abandoning the ODI series hurts the Proteas' chances of direct qualification for the 50-over World Cup next year in India. They are currently in the 11th spot and need points to finish in the top eight for direct qualification.
With the CSA agreeing that the games will not happen before the qualification cut-off date in May, the 30 points on offer could potentially be awarded to Australia.
Their remaining Super League fixtures are against India and England, which will only make their job harder. In contrast, Australia are ranked sixth and have 70 points from 12 games.
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