The Indian Premier League (IPL) is one of the most anticipated cricket events of the year. Fans eagerly wait to see their favorite players from around the world battle it out in India’s premier T20 league.
However, the excitement for South African fans may be delayed this year as several top players will be joining their respective teams only on April 3, four days after the tournament begins on March 31.
What Happened to Team South Africa?
According to ESPNcricinfo, Cricket South Africa (CSA) has informed the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) that it wants all its top players available for the two-match home ODI series against the Netherlands starting in late March.
The reason behind this is simple – South Africa needs to beat the Netherlands in the series to directly qualify for the 2023 World Cup later this year in India.
The Netherlands has announced a strong squad for the series in Zimbabwe followed by the ODIs in South Africa. Both those series are part of the ODI Super League, and the South Africa games are scheduled on March 31 and April 2 in Benoni and Johannesburg respectively. This development will affect as many as six of the 10 IPL franchises.
Sunrisers Hyderabad, Delhi Capitals, Mumbai Indians, Gujarat Titans, Lucknow Super Giants, and Punjab Kings all have South African players on their side. As a result, players such as Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, David Miller, and Aiden Markram will not be able to join their respective teams until April 3.
Previous IPL Reports
Last December, the BCCI informed the franchises that contracted South African players would be available from March 29, two days before the IPL opener. However, CSA’s chief executive officer Pholetsi Moseki has clarified that BCCI has explained why South African contracted players needed to feature in the Netherlands series.
The top eight teams in the ODI Super League automatically qualify for the 2023 World Cup, while the bottom five will have to play the World Cup Qualifiers along with five Associate teams. South Africa is currently at No. 9, and they are in a race along with West Indies, Sri Lanka, and Ireland to book a direct World Cup entry.
“This is not the first time CSA has had to deal with the IPL clashing with a home bilateral series,” says ESPNcricinfo.
“Last March, South Africa’s Test series against Bangladesh clashed with the start of the tournament, but CSA had then asked the players to take the call on whether to stay back or head to India. The players chose to be fully available for the IPL, but this time CSA was left with no choice but to field the best team as the World Cup berth is at stake.”
The upcoming 2023 Indian Premier League, also known as TATA IPL 2023 due to sponsorship, is a professional Twenty20 cricket league in India owned and operated by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
The defending champions are Gujarat Titans and the tagline for this season is “IPL is Shor on, Game on.” After a gap of four years due to the COVID-19 pandemic and three seasons being held at neutral venues, IPL will return to its original home and away format. The ten teams will play their home games at their traditional home grounds.