Bangladesh propose series against South Africa
Cricket South Africa (CSA) is considering a request from the Bangladesh board president Mustafa Kamal for South Africa to play Bangladesh in May, CSA's acting chief executive Jacques Faul has said. Kamal made a request to CSA president Willie Basson last week and offered to pay all the costs, whether the series takes place in Bangladesh or South Africa.
"We have received the request and we are in the process of checking whether it would be possible," Faul told ESPNcricinfo. "We've got nothing against it, it's just about scheduling. At the moment, I can say it is a request we are looking at."
Faul will meet with the South African Cricketers' Association (SACA) and national coach Gary Kirsten next week to discuss the possibility of playing the series. He said the decision will be based on South Africa's schedule and whether this fixture can be included without causing fatigue. "We always want to play cricket and foster cricket but we've got to be careful with how much preparation and how much rest we give our team," Faul said. "It is quite important how we pace the team."
Bangladesh have no international cricket scheduled before the World Twenty20 in September. Their trip to Pakistan, for an ODI and a T20 later this month, was put on hold after a court order placed a four-week embargo on the tour, and their visit to Zimbabwe in August was postponed because of work being done on the pitches in Harare and Bulawayo.
By contrast, South Africa's schedule is busy. Having already spent a month in New Zealand, they will go to England for more than two months in early July, head straight to Sri Lanka for the World T20, tour Australia in October and November and then host New Zealand during the home summer.
Even if all parties agree the Bangladesh-South Africa series should go ahead, it will face a number of logistical problems. With the IPL only ending on May 27, South Africa could be without some of their key players. Twenty South African players, including limited-overs captain AB de Villiers and bowlers Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, are involved in the IPL. Bangladesh, though, only have two players in the competition - Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal.
Another issue will be location. The matches are unlikely to be held in Bangladesh because of the heat in summer and Faul confirmed South Africa, where it will be winter in May, was the only possibility as a venue. "Winter will be a factor for sure," Faul said. "Durban is a possible venue but the Highveld [Johannesburg and Centurion] will be out." Cape Town, where in rains in winter, will also not be a possibility.
Another option would be for the series to be held in Zimbabwe, who were approached by the BCB to participate in a tri-series with South Africa. While Zimbabwe Cricket officials could not be reached on Sunday for confirmation on whether they received the request and were considering it, cricket can be played there during their winter. They will host South Africa for five T20 matches, which have not been given international status, in June before maintenance work on their two main centres begins.
Zimbabwe could also travel to South Africa for the proposed tri-series and Faul said CSA would welcome the idea. "We always try to help Zimbabwe, we have an obligation to them because we are closest to them and we try to look after them where we can."
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent