With the IPL 2023 less than three weeks away from kicking off for the year, Cricket South Africa have dropped a bombshell.
It has recently been announced that the top South African players will not be available for the start of the IPL 2023, due to the South Africa vs Netherlands series being played in late March and early April. We look at why Cricket South Africa have taken this call, and what the impact of this will be on the IPL 2023.
Netherlands Series Means South African Players Unavailable for IPL 2023 Start
As it stands, South Africa have two ODIs scheduled against the Netherlands for the 31st of March and 2nd of April—both of clash with the IPL 2023 start date.
Usually, these kinds of bilateral series, particularly against lesser nations such as the Netherlands, would not be a cause for governing bodies to insist their top players be available. However, there is one twist: Because of South Africa prioritising their own T20 league earlier in the year—the SA20—and cancelling a bilateral series with Australia, South Africa are now in dire straights when it comes to automatic qualification for the ODI World Cup 2023.
The top eight teams in the world will automatically qualify for the ODI World Cup 2023, with a qualifying tournament being played for the remaining four places. Currently, South Africa are sitting at No.9 in the qualifying race. This means that if South Africa want to avoid playing in a qualifying tournament ahead of the ODI World Cup 2023, they need to beat the Netherlands in both these upcoming ODIs. Do so, and they’ll collect the necessary points to qualify for the ODI World Cup 2023.
This is why Cricket South Africa have insisted that their top players be available for international duty, instead of playing in the start of the IPL 2023.
Which Players and Teams in the IPL 2023 Are Impacted By This Decision?
Most South African players will join their IPL 2023 teams four days late, on the 3rd of April. This includes big names such as:
- David Miller
- Aiden Markram
- Kagiso Rabada
- Anrich Nortje
- Lungi Ngidi
- Heinrich Klaasen
- Marco Jansen
- Quinton de Kock
- Tristan Stubbs
Given the large number of South African players present in the IPL 2023, as many as six of the ten IPL franchises will be impacted by this decision. Expect the following fixtures to be missing South African players:
- Gujarat Titans vs Chennai Super Kings (1 April)
- Punjab Kings vs Kolkata Knight Riders (1 April)
- Lucknow Super Giants vs Delhi Capitals (2 April)
- Hyderabad Sunrisers vs. Rajasthan Royals (2 April)
- Bangalore Royal Challengers vs. Mumbai Indians (3 April)
There is the potential for even more fixtures to be impacted, depending on how quickly coaches are willing to integrate their South African players into the starting teams. Despite this disruption, Cricket South Africa’s CEO Pholetsi Moseki has stated that, “The BCCI understands the importance of the Netherlands series to us automatically qualifying for the 2023 World Cup.”
Given the small margins which often decide the IPL play offs, hopefully this decision does not have a significant impact on the season.