Player workload forces South Africa to skip Pakistan tour in March

South Africa have withdrawn their interest in touring Pakistan for three T20Is in March, citing players workload following the India tour next month as the reason. The planned tour will be rescheduled after the two boards find a new window.

South Africa’s tour to Pakistan did face logistical challenges, and CSA was planning to send a security delegation to Pakistan next month during the PSL to assess the situation.

South Africa will play three ODIs, the last of which is on March 18, and the PCB had intended to make them stay in Dubai – with the PSL ending on March 22 – and then fly them directly to Pakistan for the three T20Is in Rawalpindi.

South Africa are currently hosting England for a T20I series, which was preceded by four Tests and three ODIs. Within five days of the last game against England, they will host Australia for three T20Is and as many ODIs, stretching the last game to March 7. They have to then fly to India.

With the IPL expected to begin on March 28, fitting in three more white-ball games in Pakistan in a span of two weeks would have made it hectic for the players.

As such, South Africa have not been the busiest team since the 50-over World Cup last year. They have played 13 matches across formats since then, tenth on the list among teams that play the three formats.

The PCB struck a sympathetic tone in their reaction, with PCB CEO Wasim Khan accepting that “managing player workload is a top priority” and said the PCB respected CSA’s decision. He was keen to emphasise CSA’s decision to skip the tour in March did not mean these internationals would not take place, and expressed the PCB’s willingness to organise a window for them as soon as possible.

“We are pleased that the CSA remains committed to rescheduling this short series as soon as practically possible, Wasim Khan said. “As there is a strong willingness and commitment, both the boards are now exploring their FTPs to find gaps so that we can agree on the dates.”

CSA’s acting chief executive Jacques Faul said: “This has purely been done because of the heavy workload and international schedule our players are facing in the immediate future. I have assured my counterpart at the PCB, Wasim Khan, that the tour remains very much on our international schedule.

“I would also like to stress that security was not an issue in asking the PCB for this postponement. We will now work together to find an appropriate window in the international cricket calendar.”

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