New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has said it is not willing to negotiate the dates of the two-Test series, which the board is slated to host against South Africa in February next year, citing the arrangements like flights and dates being locked already. New Zealand have never won a Test series against South Africa home or away. In their upcoming home summer, they will square off against the Proteas at Bay Oval, Tauranga (February 4-8) and Seddon Park, Hamilton (February 13-17). The series, though, is having a clash with the second season of SA20 league in South Africa. Zak Crawley Scores His 4th Test Century, Achieves Feat During ENG vs AUS Ashes 4th Test 2023
The matches, due to take place from February 4 to 17, 2024, necessitate that South Africa arrive in late January but will clash with the latter stages of the SA20 and CSA was hopeful of discussing a reschedule but NZC insists the fixtures are set, as per the FTP.
"These Tests have been part of the FTP since it was announced two years ago. We've collaborated and agreed dates with CSA, who have confirmed the tour, acknowledged the arrangements and have been in receipt of the schedule for several weeks."
"Flights have been confirmed, dates for the practice game have been agreed, and we're looking forward to the squad's arrival. The Proteas are a popular and formidable Test team and we view them as an important part of our home summer schedule," said Richard Boock, NZC's manager of public affairs.
The clash with SA20 of the Test series, for which the players have to be in the country in late January, means South Africa could be forced to field a makeshift team as a majority of their first-choice players will be featuring in the franchise T20 league at home. Jonny Bairstow Catch Video: Watch England Wicketkeeper Grab Stunner to Dismiss Mitchell Marsh During ENG vs AUS Ashes 4th Test 2023
According to ESPNcricinfo report, although South Africa's centrally-contracted players are bound to both the national team and the SA20, CSA has guaranteed the SA20 first rights to the players over the January window.
"And as such, the players will be obliged to play for their franchises rather than the national team. An SA20 mini-auction will take place in September which could see more players snapped up for the league and will also give CSA a clearer idea of who can make the trip to New Zealand," it said.
The series against New Zealand will be South Africa's second assignment of the 2023-2025 World Test Championship cycle, after playing two Tests against India at home in late December to early January.
"It is understood that there are serious concerns within CSA of the quality of the squad South Africa will be able to send to New Zealand but no suggestion that they will forfeit entirely," the report added.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jul 20, 2023 08:18 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).