Cricket South Africa (CSA) on Monday announced a packed programme of 23 one-day internationals involving five countries to help the Proteas build up to the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
There could, in fact, be a 24th match if the Proteas Castle Lager ODI squad qualifies for the Final of the Triangular tournament against Zimbabwe and Australia in Harare in August and September.
The Proteas will also play six test matches in the six-month period between July 2014 and January 2015, which includes fulfilling the two-match series against Sri Lanka which was postponed last year.
The revised schedule sees a further 13 ODI matches added to the programme in the current Future Tours Programme schedule.
2015 Cricket World Cup
“Once we have completed our challenge for the ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh next month, we will turn much of our attention to next year’s World Cup,” CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat said in a statement.
“Building quality experience is a vital part of preparing our ODI squad for the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. The series of ODI matches we will be playing in these two countries will provide valuable experience for the players as they prepare for the conditions expected during the World Cup.
“At the same time, we would want to respect the primacy of test match cricket,” he added. “The Sunfoil Test Series against the West Indies will be the highlight of our home summer. With the traditional New Year Test match at Sahara Park Newlands and a Boxing Day encounter at Axxess St. George’s, fans will be in for a treat as we continue to defend our number one status.
“There were encouraging signs of good support for test match cricket at Axxess St George’s, and we hope to see even greater attendances over the holiday period. That’s why we want to announce our international fixtures early, so that fans have plenty of time to make their holiday plans and come out in large numbers to support the Proteas.”
Sri Lankan and Zimbabwean tours
The Proteas will travel to Sri Lanka in July to play two tests and three ODIs. This will be followed by a trip to Zimbabwe in August/September for a single test, three ODIs and a triangular series involving Zimbabwe, South Africa and Australia.
The Castle Lager Proteas ODI squad then travels to New Zealand in late October for a three-match ODI series against the Black Caps. Thereafter, they remain in the Antipodes to take on Australia in three T20 Internationals and five ODIs during November 2014.
The relevant boards will soon announce the detailed itinerary with venues and dates for the Proteas’ away tours.
The Proteas’ preparation for the ICC World Cup will conclude with the West Indies visiting the Rainbow Nation for a full series comprising three tests, five ODIs and two T20 Internationals.
“I’m excited about the upcoming international fixtures for the next year,” Proteas coach Russell Domingo stated.
“With it being a World Cup year, we have placed a lot of emphasis on the 50-over format and have tried to maximise our preparation by playing as many matches as possible in conditions that will be similar to those in New Zealand and Australia.
“I’m particularly pleased that we have managed fit in a tour to New Zealand ahead of our two limited-overs series against Australia, and hopefully playing at the prospective World Cup venues will play to our advantage during the tournament.”
World Cup squad
Reflecting on the selection of the South African World Cup squad, he continued: “This bumper ODI schedule will allow us to finalise our group as quickly as possible and to start playing around with strategies and game plans.
“We will be facing strong opposition in the form of Sri Lanka, Australia, New Zealand and the West Indies, so I have no doubt that we will be adequately prepared ahead of the tournament.
“The Christmas test is a premier fixture on our cricketing calendar and I hope the fans in Port Elizabeth will come out in their numbers to support the Proteas. This is always a fixture that the players look forward to and I’m sure the PE fans will make it a special and jovial occasion when it returns this summer against the West Indies.”
WEST INDIES TOUR TO SOUTH AFRICA
10-12 Dec: WI v SA Invitation XI, Willowmoore Park
17-21 Dec: 1st Sunfoil test match, SuperSport Park
26-30 Dec: 2nd Sunfoil test match, St. George’s
2-6 Jan: 3rd Sunfoil test match, Newlands
9 Jan: 1st KFC T20 International (D/N), Newlands
11 Jan: 2nd T20 International (D/N), Wanderers
16 Jan: 1st Momentum ODI (D/N), Kingsmead
18 Jan: 2nd ODI (Day), Wanderers
21 Jan: 3rd ODI (D/N), Buffalo Park
25 Jan: 4th ODI (Day), St. George’s
28 Jan: 5th ODI (D/N), SuperSport Park