South Africa are likely to field a depleted squad for the two home Tests against Bangladesh starting March 18, with all their red-ball players choosing to play for various franchises in the IPL 2022.
The Cricket South Africa (CSA), earlier this month, allowed the players to choose between the IPL and their Test commitments against Bangladesh. And the players in a unanimous decision have prefered the IPL over the two Tests.
According to an agreement between the two boards, CSA has historically provided their players with NOCs to participate in the IPL and have not organised fixtures at the same time. However, this year is different, with an expanded IPL and an autumn series against Bangladesh.
“The original agreement with the BCCI was that we would release our players for the IPL. But the IPL window has gotten bigger, and our agreement remains the same,” an insider told ESPNcricinfo.
This decision means that South Africa will be without their entire front-line seam attack against Bangladesh. Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi are contracted to the Punjab Kings and the Delhi Capitals, respectively, while Marco Jansen is set to play for Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Meanwhile, there is still no clarity on Anrich Nortje’s availability for the IPL. Nortje last played first-class cricket on the tour of the Caribbean in July last year and is said to be suffering from a longstanding back and hip issue.
The pacer, who has emerged as a key weapon for the Capitals, is set to be assessed by the franchise’s medical staff.
All the Test specialists are understood to have had a meeting with Mark Boucher, the head coach, with efforts being made to convince them to prioritise the Tests before heading over to India.
There is an indication that some, including Rabada, could be persuaded to stay for at least the first Test. However, it is more likely that the players will continue to play in the IPL.