Any minute now Cricket South Africa are set to announce their winter tours, with director of cricket Graeme Smith saying on Monday morning that he was hoping for a “very busy” year of international action.
And, at the same time, Smith also called on the International Cricket Council (ICC) to show more leadership to ensure teams outside of the “Big Three” (England, India and Australia) continue to have decent fixtures lined up.
While Australia pulling out of the Test tour to South Africa scheduled for next month clearly still hurts CSA, Pakistan will help fill the void by coming over for a white-ball series in April, and CSA are expected to announce tours to the West Indies and Sri Lanka over our winter, as well as a series in India before the T20 World Cup in October/November.
“Our relationship with Cricket Australia is definitely now strained and the ICC needs strong leadership because Covid is just amplifying the Haves and the Have-Nots,” Smith said on Monday.
“The FTP (Future Tours Programme) is going to be hugely challenging with eight ICC events in the next eight years, an extended IPL and the calendar being dominated by England, Australia and India. That just amplifies the stress on us and the other countries looking for good content.
“Fortunately there has been the opportunity to manoeuvre a bit in the FTP and add some tours,” added Smith.
“This Pakistan tour coming up was meant to happen last October and we were meant to go to the West Indies last year, there’s also a Sri Lanka tour, India before the World Cup, and they’re also meant to be coming here at the end of the year.
“But it takes time to finalise these – it’s a bit of a bun fight because every nation is trying to fill gaps.”
Even though cricket has been impacted heavily by Covid, Smith said the men’s team would be very busy over the next few months.
“But the game as a whole needs leadership right now because I don’t think we want to see only three teams competing at the top in 10 years time. Their leagues are just getting bigger and bigger and the rest will be left with no content,” Smith said.