The Australian Cricket Board (ACB) announced today that South Africa A will tour Australia in April 2003 for a series against Australia A.
The two sides will contest six limited-over matches and two three-day games played in Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide and Perth.
It is the first time Australia has hosted international cricket in April.
ACB Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland said the series formed part of the ACB's commitment to developing Australian teams at the highest level.
"As part of the ACB's efforts to ensure that Australian teams continue to thrive at the elite level, the Board is focussed on exploring new programming initiatives," Mr Sutherland said.
"This South Africa A series presents an ideal opportunity for players on the verge of Australian selection to showcase their talents on the international stage and be ready for national call-up at a time when the Australian team is competing in the West Indies."
Mr Sutherland said that stretching the 2002-03 cricket season through to the end of April would be welcomed by the cricket community.
"Weather in April is usually mild, venues are still equipped for cricket and state/territory associations are in favour of more international competition," he said.
"With this in mind, it makes sense to schedule Australia A matches at this time of year and the ACB will consider programming more of these games in the future."
The series is a reciprocal tour to last September's Travelex Australia A tour to South Africa. On that tour, Australia A won five of the six limited-over matches.
The Australia A team will be announced towards the end of March, along with Australia's team for the Travelex Tour of the West Indies in April.
South Africa A to Australia - April 2003
Tue 1 April Sth Africa arrive in Brisbane Fri 4 April Sth Africa A v Australia A D/N BRISBANE, the Gabba Sun 6 April Sth Africa A v Australia A CANBERRA, Manuka Oval Tue 8 April Sth Africa A v Australia A MELBOURNE, Albert Ground Thur 10 April Sth Africa A v Australia A HOBART, Bellerive Oval Sat 12 April Sth Africa A v Australia A ADELAIDE, Adelaide Oval Sun 13-15 April Sth Africa A v Australia A ADELAIDE, Adelaide Oval Sat 19-21 April Sth Africa A v Australia A PERTH, WACA Ground Wed 23 April Sth Africa A v Australia A PERTH, WACA Ground