South Africa news August 20, 2011

MTN40 changed to 50 overs

South Africa's domestic limited-overs competition has been changed to bring it in line with international one-day cricket. The tournament, which was a 40-over event for the last two seasons, will now be a 50-over competition in a bid to prepare for the 2015 World Cup. The decision was taken at Cricket South Africa's annual general meeting in Port Elizabeth on Saturday on the advice of the cricket committee.

"The conditions will be identical to those for ODIs to prepare our players better for international competition," Gerald Majola, CSA chief executive said. "That should help us to win that elusive ICC limited overs trophy."

In April, after South Africa crashed out of the World Cup at the quarter-final stage, convenor of selectors, Andrew Hudson indicated to ESPNcricinfo that the domestic structure would be changed in order to better prepare the national team for major tournaments. Two months later, CSA announced that the competition would revert back to a 45-over game, as it had been from the 1995-6 season until 2009-10. Now, CSA have decided to replicate the ODI format exactly, in an attempt to win a first World Cup trophy.

South Africa's limited-overs competition had undergone many changes in the past two decades, often with the view to copy innovations in the international game. In the 2005-06 season, when the ICC was experimenting with the use of a "super-sub" and Powerplays, South Africa followed suit. With thoughts of 50-over cricket becoming a thing of the past, the competition was reduced to 40 overs and three Powerplays were added. With the anticipated change in ODIs coming to nothing, CSA are going back to the traditional limited-overs form of the game.

The new competition is without a sponsor after mobile telephone operator MTN, who backed the tournament from the 2006-07 season, pulled out of cricket. A sponsor is expected to be announced in the next month.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent