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South Africa to host England and Netherlands for ODIs in early 2023

The matches are crucial for South Africa's chances of earning direct qualification for the 2023 ODI World Cup

Firdose Moonda
Firdose Moonda
Both the England and Netherlands series were postponed during new waves of the Covid-19 pandemic  •  Getty Images

Both the England and Netherlands series were postponed during new waves of the Covid-19 pandemic  •  Getty Images

South Africa will complete their 2023 ODI World Cup qualification process with five games at home early next year, against England and Netherlands.
Those matches, along with a full tour by West Indies - two Tests, three ODIs and three T20Is - are the only men's internationals for the 2022-23 summer, during which the SA20 will get underway. The 33-match SA20 league will kick off on January 10 and is likely to end on February 4, with the three ODIs against England squeezed into six days between January 27 and February 1, which ESPNcricinfo understands will be after the group stage and before the knockouts of the SA20.
The three T20Is against West Indies and two ODIs against Netherlands will be played from March 25, which could clash with the IPL and leave South Africa forced to field second-string XIs.
Both the England and Netherlands series were postponed during waves of the Covid-19 pandemic, with England cutting short their December 2020 tour after positive tests in the South African camp, and Netherlands leaving the country in November 2021, following the discovery of the Omicron variant.
If you're wondering why CSA has insisted on playing the England matches - apart from the financial benefit of hosting England - despite the crammed calendar, the England series is crucial to South Africa's chances of qualifying directly for the 2023 World Cup. They are currently in 11th place on the table, outside the automatic qualification zone, and only have eight matches left to play: three against India in an ongoing series, three against England, and two against Netherlands. They are forfeiting three ODIs in Australia, which were scheduled for mid-January, in order to have all their top players available for the start of the SA20, which is the CSA's focus at the moment.
With the SA20 taking place at the country's headline venues - Cape Town, Paarl, Johannesburg, Centurion, Durban and Gqeberha - the England ODIs will be played in Bloemfontein and Kimberley, cities which do not have SA20 franchises. Newlands, Boland Park and St George's Park will then be used for the Women's T20 World Cup, which will be played in South Africa in February 2023, so the West Indies Tests will take place at the Wanderers and SuperSport Park, which will also host the T20Is. The ODIs will be played in East London and Potchefstroom, and the Netherlands matches, including the pink-day ODI, will be held in Benoni and Johannesburg.
That leaves Durban's Kingsmead as the only major venue that will not see international cricket this summer and extends a long drought for the coastal venue, which has not hosted the national side since before the Covid-19 pandemic hit.
"We are trying to spread the game around and make sure some of the venues that didn't host much cricket in the pandemic get games," Pholetsi Moseki, the CSA chief executive, said. "We are also trying to secure more matches, and if we get them, Kingsmead will definitely get some games."
ESPNcricinfo understands there is some talk of a T20 visit by India to South Africa in the 2022-23 summer, which has yet to be confirmed. But there is no indication of more Test matches. South Africa host only two Tests in the 2022-23 summer, partly as a result of the men's national team being away over the festive period. They will play three Tests in Australia from mid-December to early January, for the first time since the 2008-09 series.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent