Shepparton News

Tour back on the cards



Australia’s postponed tour of South Africa will go ahead in 2023 as it prepares to add the one-off bout with Afghanista­n to its list of pushed-back fixtures.

Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley revealed after yesterday’s annual general meeting it was closing in on new dates to tour South Africa, after this year’s controvers­ial postponeme­nt.

The series will slot into an empty space in the 2023 calendar, most likely at the end of the year given the one-day World Cup is scheduled for India in March.

The Tests would come within 12 months of South Africa’s next scheduled tour of Australia, with a three-Test series set for the Boxing DayNew Year’s period in 2022-23.

Hockley also claimed the relationsh­ip with Cricket South Africa was now back on good terms, after it had clearly soured on Australia’s initial postponeme­nt due to COVID-19 earlier this year.

‘‘We’ve been working over recent months to look to reschedule we think we found a calendar window in the calendar in 2023,’’ Hockley said.

‘‘Our relationsh­ip with South Africa I would say is very strong.

‘‘As we said at the time, we were very disappoint­ed, I know our players were extremely disappoint­ed not to be able to go to South Africa.

‘‘So we’re pleased that we’ve been able to find a window in 2023 to reschedule that tour.’’

Beyond that, Australia is still to make up a two-Test series in Bangladesh that was postponed last year due to the pandemic.

White-ball games at home were also moved last year when the T20 World Cup was pushed back to next year, and it’s likely there could be additional bilateral series in the lead up to that tournament.

Meanwhile, Hockley again indicated the Hobart Test against Afghanista­n next month would be postponed.

CA declared last month it would not host a match against the nation if the Taliban regime did not support women’s cricket following its recent takeover.

Afghanista­n will, however, play in this month’s T20 World Cup after the ICC cleared its entry, but it and Australia are in different groups and extremely unlikely to meet.

Former CA chairman Earl Eddings had sat in ICC meetings on the topic in recent weeks, but his resignatio­n on Wednesday will leave interim replacemen­t Richard Freudenste­in to step into the next ICC meeting.

‘‘We’re working with the Australian Government and also working with the ACB (Afghanista­n Cricket Board) on the finer details (of the Hobart Test status),’’ Hockley said.

‘‘We will be looking to confirm the state of the Test match relatively imminently.

‘‘And as it relates to discussion­s with the ICC, we’ve been in regular dialogue around our approach.

‘‘The Test match, it certainly won’t be cancelled, it’s more likely it will be postponed until we’ve got a bit more clarity.’’

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