It has long been the case that money is the driving force behind most professional sports and the decisions associated with it. That is not a new concept. However, the decision made by South Africa regarding their one-day squad and the tour of Australia. The tour is to start in mid-December with three tests. Then the South Africans were scheduled to play three one-day matches.
Unfortunately, this is the same time that the South African cricket board has scheduled their newly formed domestic T20 league. Being in the southern hemisphere, the South Africans play at the same time as Australia as a rule. When they tour Australia, they must play the Boxing Day test in Melbourne. The reason for this is that it attracts more spectators than every other test in the world.
This means that if they need to play home international games, or want to put on their domestic competition, they have limited time to do it. As this is going to be the first iteration of the event, they obviously want it to be a success. In order for this to happen, the South African Cricket Board wants its best players to be available. They did request to reschedule the series but there is no room in the very crowded cricket calendar to accommodate this.
South Africa sold out their World Cup hopes for a T20 cash cow.
With the games being canceled, the South African cricket team has almost no chance to qualify for the One Day International World Cup in 2023. Teams have until May of 2023 to qualify directly. They sit in the 11th spot on the ODI qualification table with just four wins from 13 matches.
🚨 RESULT | ENGLAND WIN BY 41 RUNS
Tristan Stubbs (72) announced himself on the international stage, however, that innings along with Reeza Hendricks' 57 was not enough to help the #Proteas chase down the 235-run target.#ENGvSA #BePartOfIt pic.twitter.com/ipnJ6iG8Pw
— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) July 27, 2022
While the top eight automatically go through to the World Cup, forfeiting these three games makes life really difficult to qualify directly. This will bring them up to 16 matches and they will still only have four wins. To make matters worse for the South Africans, the eighth-placed Australians take on Zimbabwe at home. Zimbabwe has been a minnow nation in cricket for a number of years. This should move them further back up the table.
Add to this the points that they will get from the South Africans series and they will be hard to catch. On top of that, the seventh-placed Indian cricket team has three matches against Zimbabwe as well. South Africa will most probably have to qualify through a tournament for the final two World Cup places.
Given that Sri Lanka is in the bottom five, there is probably going to be one spot remaining to qualify. Anything can happen in sports and having to qualify through extra games will be dangerous for the teams qualifying. A World Cup without the South African cricket team is hard to imagine. However, with their desire to get revenue from the domestic T20 competition, they have made a rod for their own back.
Unfortunately, making money is more crucial for cricket boards these days. To be the best in all formats of the game is not the ultimate goal, financial viability is.