Aussie cricket fans have been left fuming after the bombshell announcement on Wednesday that South Africa has withdrawn from a scheduled ODI series in January next year.
The Proteas have pulled out of the three ODIs, scheduled for Hobart, Sydney and Perth, due to a new Twenty20 league in South Africa.
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While the Proteas will still take part in the scheduled Test series, Cricket South Africa's leaders last month told Cricket Australia they would not allow their players to stay Down Under for the white-ball series in fear of compromising the launch of their own domestic T20 league.
CA tried to find alternative dates for the matches but were unable to do so, with a cramped schedule in 2023 involving a tour of India, an Ashes series and an ODI World Cup.
"It is disappointing that Cricket South Africa will be unable to contest the ODI series in January," CA chief executive Nick Hockley said.
"That said, we are delighted to be hosting South Africa for the three-Test series which includes the Boxing Day and New Year's Tests.
"We can't wait to see fans back at the cricket this summer."
South Africa's staggering decision means they will forfeit all ICC Super League points to Australia, which may impact their ability to secure direct qualification for the 2023 World Cup.
The Proteas are currently languishing in 11th spot with 49 points.
Only the top eight teams from the 12 full member nations of the ICC, plus the Netherlands, will qualify for the World Cup.
The other five teams will battle for the remaining two spots in play-off matches against five Associate sides.
Due to the ODI series being called off, CA have relocated two men's T20Is to the Gabba and Optus Stadium in Perth, as well as a women's international to Hobart's Blundstone Arena.
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The silver lining of the decision is that it opens the door for more international stars to feature in the Big Bash League.
It now leaves a window after the New Year's Test in Sydney for Australia's multi-format players to feature in the much-maligned BBL.
The Seven Network is trying to terminate its TV rights deal with CA because it has been unhappy with the state of the BBL during recent seasons.
Test captain Pat Cummins and fellow fast bowling star Mitchell Starc have already ruled themselves out of featuring in this summer's BBL, but might now reconsider.
Test players Usman Khawaja, Mitchell Swepson, Nathan Lyon and Alex Carey are all contracted to BBL franchises, while Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith have a desire to return to the competition if available.
The likes of Melbourne Stars guns Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis and Adam Zampa, Australia's white-ball skipper Aaron Finch and Perth Scorchers pair Mitch Marsh and Ashton Agar will now be free to participate in the entire BBL if they are not called up to the Test squad.
Nevertheless, fans were left outraged that South Africa had opted to prioritise a domestic T20 competition over international cricket.
Withdraw from ODI in a World Cup year for domestic T20…. And we wonder why the games slowly dying… this is an absolute disgrace and this article then says “we get test players in the bbl” so it’s all good then I guess 🤦♂️
— Jason King (@jasonk690) July 13, 2022
Abandoning an International one day series to accommodate a domestic T20 Considering what their standing in WC super league points table. What a joke.... hope they mis the World Cup then 🤦🏻
— Kaustubh (@kaustubh_4579) July 13, 2022
Lets just get rid of international cricket and just have a international domestic T20 circuit which is what appears to be what world cricket boards want.
— Laughing at dumb things televangelists say is fun. (@jaykay287) July 13, 2022
Cancellation of int'l cricket for T20 leagues is extremely unfortunate..it might be an attempt to payback for Aus's refusal to play the test series in SA last year.
— movieman (@movieman777) July 13, 2022
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