Former South Africa skipper Graeme Smith said the decision to scrap the bilateral ODI series against Australia next year was taken in the best interests of their new T20 league.
South Africa were due to play three ODIs against Australia in January 2023. These matches were part of the ongoing World Cup Super League. However, Cricket South Africa (CSA) opted to put its new franchise T20 league over the team’s qualification for the next 50-over World Cup in India.
This is the third attempt by the country’s cricket board to establish a sustainable T20 league after the Global T20 League failed to hit the stage in 2017. The Mzansi Super League, which was conducted in 2019 and 2020, was scrapped after failing to attract broadcasters for the third year deal.
The decision was taken in the best interests of our league: Graeme Smith
Smith, who is the Commissioner of the new T20 league in South Africa, explained that December and January is a period in their country when they can capture a big amount of revenue because of holidays and they expect all of their players to be present at home rather than playing ODIs against Australia.
“Firstly, for South Africa to be out of South Africa during the prime time of the year is a massive thing. Because, commercially, that’s our prime time of the year in South Africa, the fans are on holiday, revenues are at their highest for CSA. So, for them to be in Australia during Boxing Day and New Year is something incredible,” Smith told Times of India.
“Yes, we all know how it works. Unless you’re at home, you don’t get the revenues. It’s the home games that provide those revenues. The decision was taken in the best interests of our league,” he added.
We offered a number of solutions to Cricket Australia: Graeme Smith
Smith mentioned that CSA had put immense effort to find a solution with Cricket Australia for the ODI series, but eventually both the boards failed to be on the same page. Smith said the board doesn’t want to strain their relations with their rival boards.
“I also know that the CEO at Cricket South Africa reached out countless times to try and reach a solution with Cricket Australia over those three ODIs. We offered a number of solutions for it, which didn’t work for Cricket Australia. Unfortunately, things reached a point where they are now. I think there could be no solution found for the offers that CSA made,” the former South Africa skipper revealed.
“I think it was months of engagements and meetings during the IPL final and I know they really tried to make it work. We have good relations with Australia, England, India, West Indies and all the boards. We need to work together but there needs to be an understanding that cricket in South Africa also needs sustainability, and we need to put focus on that as well,” he further said.
South Africa recently won the T20I series against England 2-1 and will play Ireland in two more games in Bristol. The first match starts on Wednesday at the County Ground in Bristol.