Summer cricket fixture revealed, but South Africa wants ODIs moved

South Africa has formally requested that three January one-day internationals in Australia be rescheduled to avoid a clash with its new, privately owned domestic Twenty20 league.

Nick Hockley, Cricket Australia’s chief executive, confirmed he received a request from Cricket South Africa via email on Friday night.

Such a move would theoretically allow Australian players to have more involvement in the Big Bash League.

With a crowded fixture this summer, Hockley has yet to find appropriate dates to move the games to, but he has not ruled out the possibility of making a switch.

Whilst the timing of the ODI series against South Africa is set out in the Future Tours Program, we 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, Hockley said.

After two years of being impacted by the pandemic, the 2022-23 home summer will be an especially busy one for the Australian men’s team as we honour our commitments.

Australia’s T20 captain Aaron Finch has been handed a carpet of early-season white-ball games in which to re-groove his game for the home World Cup.

The men’s white-ball team will play up to 16 matches before its first game of the home T20 World Cup in October, including the Top End series against Zimbabwe and New Zealand and a brief trip to India for three games.

That will be followed by two games against West Indies on the Gold Coast, before three against England in Brisbane and Canberra.

By then, Finch will hope his winter work with head coach Andrew McDonald and senior assistant Michael Di Venuto will have paid dividends – largely a case of settling his movements at the batting crease, particularly as he gets closer to full recovery from knee surgery last year.

No less a judge than Shane Watson recently indicated that Finch faced a difficult task to find that elusive rhythm.

Unfortunately, right now, the way he’s batting and what I’ve seen during this IPL, he’s batting nowhere near his best, Watson told The Grade Cricketer podcast.

Whatever is going on, the things he’s working on with his technique and mindset, it’s changed a lot from where he’s been at his best.

I believe if he’s not scoring runs in the lead-up to the T20 World Cup, and it’s along similar lines to what we saw here for KKR [Kolkata Knight Riders], you can’t pick him. At the moment he’s so far out of touch, no matter how good your captaincy skills are, if he continues to bat the way he is, it would be a big liability, especially as an opener.

The Australian women’s schedule is missing a Test match after two were played last summer against India and England, largely because the system nurturing the Pakistan touring side has not yet been deemed sturdy enough for them to play.

At the same time, CA is in negotiations with several nations about an overseas women’s tour in December after the WBBL season. One nation to have recently recommitted to women’s Test matches is South Africa, which is scheduled to play a long-form game in England this winter.

Following the men’s T20 World Cup, the Test match schedule features two Tests against the West Indies. The first will be played in Perth, the next under lights in Adelaide, meaning both games will be telecast in prime time on the east coast. The BBL is expected to start after the Adelaide Test concludes about December 13.

South Africa will then play Australia in the prime late-December and early-January Test matches for the first time since 2008-09, with Brisbane hosting the first Test before Melbourne and Sydney.

The 50-over series between the teams was scheduled for January 12 in Hobart, January 14 in Sydney and January 17 in Perth. However, as Hockley confirmed, South Africa’s desire build a lucrative domestic T20 tournament of its own after several previous false starts may yet lead to a change of that plan.

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