SACA unlikely to agree to Bangladesh series
The South African Cricketers' Association (SACA) has said it is "unlikely" they will agree to Bangladesh's proposal to play three ODIs and five Twenty20s in May. SACA will meet with Cricket South Africa on Tuesday to discuss the Bangladesh Cricket Board's offer but association chief executive Tony Irish told ESPNcricinfo it is doubtful they will rubber-stamp the fixtures.
Should they withhold permission, the tour cannot take place, as Irish explained. "Because this will fall outside the Future Tours Programme, it needs the permission of SACA to take place," Irish said. "And what I can say at the moment is that it is unlikely we will go through with it."
Irish said the main reason for SACA's hesitancy is the packed schedule facing the national team. Most South Africa players are currently involved in the IPL or in county cricket, with the notable exceptions being Graeme Smith, who is recovering from ankle injury and Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Mark Boucher, who did not secure IPL deals.
Bangladesh's proposal to play the matches in May will leave South Africa without some of their players who are occupied in either India or England and could result in avoidable fatigue in a busy year. South Africa will play Zimbabwe in five practice Twenty20 matches in June, will then travel to England for over two months from July from where they will head to the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka. They also visit Australia in October-November and host New Zealand in December.
Jacques Faul, CSA acting chief executive, said timing would be the biggest consideration when the relevant stakeholders meet to make a decision. "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."
Irish's comments indicated that it was in the best interest of the players not to include an extra tour, as it may result in overload. "With the way the international season is scheduled, it is quite difficult to fit other matches in, unless they are on special request from the team," Irish said. The five matches in Zimbabwe are an example of this, with the fixtures taking place after national coach Gary Kirsten asked for more T20s before the World Twenty20.
Zimbabwe have made special arrangements to accommodate South Africa's request for the practice matches. They moved the dates for maintenance work on the pitches in Harare and Bulawayo from June to July, which also resulted in them having to postpone their scheduled tour against Bangladesh to later in the year.
This has left Bangladesh with no international cricket before the World Twenty20 and motivated them to seek fixtures from South Africa. Bangladesh have also mooted the idea of a tri-series between themselves, South Africa and Zimbabwe although that also appears unlikely to happen.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent