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South Africa’s quest to achieve automatic qualification for the 2023 Cricket World Cup became more difficult on Wednesday when the country’s board agreed to forfeit a series against Australia. Cricket South Africa (CSA) withdrew from a scheduled three-match World Cup Super League series in Australia in January in order to have their best players available for a domestic Twenty20 league. The matches had been scheduled for January 12, 14 and 17 in Hobart, Sydney and Perth.

South Africa are languishing in 11th place in the Super League, with the top eight qualifying automatically for the World Cup in India next year.

The loss of the 30 points available for the series means South Africa will almost certainly have to win their remaining series against India and England, plus two postponed matches against the Netherlands, to avoid playing in a qualifying tournament.

“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 chief executive Pholetsi Moseki said in a statement. Cricket Australia announced earlier on Wednesday that it had been unable to accommodate South Africa’s request to change the dates of the series.

A backlog of postponed fixtures from the pandemic meant there was no window available to reschedule before the qualification cut-off in May.

‘Immense disappointment’
Moseki said the matches had originally been scheduled for 2020 but had been postponed because of the pandemic. “CSA is always keen on honouring its bilateral commitments,” said Moseki. “CSA offered four options … unfortunately, and to our disappointment, none of these were acceptable to Cricket Australia.

“CSA has agreed that the International Cricket Council award Australia the competition points.”

Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley said it was “disappointing” but the three-Test series against South Africa in December and January would go ahead as planned.

The loss of the series means three other Australia fixtures have had venue changes to provide an even spread of matches across the country for fans.

A men’s Twenty20 match against the West Indies on October 7 has moved from the Gold Coast to Brisbane and a Twenty20 international against England two days later has switched to Perth, from Brisbane.

A women’s T20 match against Pakistan on January 26 moves from Canberra to Hobart.

Revised Australia 2022-23 schedule:

Men:

ODI series v Zimbabwe (all Townsville): August 28, 31, September 3

ODI series v New Zealand (all Cairns): September 6, 8, 11

T20 series v West Indies: October 5 (Gold Coast), 7 (Brisbane)

T20 series v England: October 9 (Perth), 12, 14 (both Canberra)

ICC Men’s T20 World Cup: October 16-November 13

ODI Series v England: November 17 (Adelaide), 19 (Sydney), 22 Melbourne.

Test series v West Indies: First Test November 30–December 4 (Perth), Second Test December 8-12 (Adelaide).

Test series v South Africa: First Test December 17-21 (Brisbane), Second Test December 26-30 (Melbourne), Third Test January 4-8 (Sydney).

Women:

Promoted

ODI series v Pakistan January 16, 18 (both Brisbane), 21 (Sydney).

Twenty20 series v Pakistan: January 24 (Sydney), 26 (Hobart), 29 (both Canberra).

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