South Africa domestic news August 2, 2012

South Africa domestic season from September 20

The South African franchises will play between two and four rounds of first-class cricket before the national team's tour to Australia in November. Graeme Smith's team will play three Tests on the tour and a single tour match, starting on November 2, while South Africa's domestic season will start seven weeks before that on September 20.

The Knights, Cobras, Dolphins and Warriors will each play four matches before the Australia tour while the Lions and Titans will only play two games, because of their involvement in October's Champions League T20.

"With the early start to the season our two representatives in the Champions League T20 will be able to find form ahead of this important inter-continental competition," Jacques Faul, CSA's acting chief executive, said. "They will be without those national players involved in the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka."

The Champions League, which runs from October 13 to 28, will not interrupt the domestic fixtures greatly, as the four franchises not involved will continue playing as normal. Their matches will all be hosted at grounds not involved in the competition, such as Buffalo Park in East London and the Pietermaritzburg Oval.

All the competitions - first-class, one-day and twenty-overs - will be played over a double round. Each franchise will play ten matches, half at home and half away, in keeping with the changes that were made in the 2011-12 season.

The limited-overs competition will involve a knockout stage that will see the team who tops the table automatically qualify for the final, while the second and third placed teams will contest a playoff.

Although the formats will stay the same, the names of all three competitions will change because CSA have found new sponsors after being abandoned by most of their corporate partners due to the ongoing bonus scandal.

The first-class competition is no longer backed by broadcaster SuperSport but funded by cooking oil manufacturing company Sunfoil, who are also Test sponsors. The one-day cup, which went unsponsored last season, now has the muscle of financial services company Momentum behind it.

The twenty-over competition's naming rights have not yet been claimed. Insurance company MiWay stepped in at the 11th hour last season, but have not announced a renewal of their sponsorship. A certainty about the tournament is that the composite seventh franchise, Impi, have been disbanded and the event will be played between the six existing teams, with no additions.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent