South Africa face World Cup ‘disaster’

South Africa’s decision to withdraw from a one-day series in Australia in January could have massive ramifications, with the country in danger of missing automatic qualification for the next 50-over World Cup.

The top seven countries at the end of March will join host nation India in the tournament, to be played next October-November.

The remaining teams will have to go through an additional qualifying tournament in Zimbabwe to claim one of the two final spots.

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Currently South Africa sits in 11th spot in the qualifying order.

“Given our situation on the points table, we knew it would be a tough ask to qualify,” Pholetsi Moseki, CSA’s chief executive, told ESPNcricinfo.

“We would have liked the opportunity to automatically qualify but if we have to go to the qualifiers, that’s what we have to do. The players know what’s at stake. A World Cup is the pinnacle of a career.”

South Africa’s decision to cancel the series was taken because it will launch its own T20 franchise competition in January.

“The players are disappointed that the ODIs in Australia will not happen but they understood the reasons,” Moseki said.

“A lot of people are investing a lot of money in the T20 league, and we have to give it the best chance of success.”

Moseki said the prospect of missing the 2023 World Cup would be “a disaster.”

“They (the players) were not exactly happy but they understood the long-term importance of the decision,” he said.

The cancellation of the series is a bonus for Cricket Australia, freeing up the top white-ball talent for the second half of the BBL.

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