LAHORE: The Cricket South Africa (CSA) has decided not to tour Pakistan in March this year for three proposed T20I matches citing increase in workload on their cricketers.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had invited CSA for three T20I matches which were be played at the Rawalpindi Stadium after the end of the 5th Pakistan Super League (PSL) scheduled for Feb 20 to March 22.

A quick look at the schedules of both Pakistan andSouth Africa in 2020 shows that PCB could have timed the tour better and should have kept the three-match T20 series in the third week of April which also a free period for the South African team. South Africa’s last big assignment is the three-match One-day Inter­national series against India in India from March 12 to 18 and, perhaps, the month of April had suited them to tour Pakistan.

In fact, if anyone should be complaining of workload on the players, it is Pakistani players face a hectic schedule from hereon. The Pakistan Super League is to be played from Feb 20 to March 22 and soon after that the Pakistan team are to face Bangladesh in a one-off ODI and second Test of two matches series in Karachi from April 3.

After the Test series against Bangladesh ending on April 9, both Pakistan and South Africa are relatively free. Pakistan will then have to tour the Netherlands, Ireland and England in June-July while South Africa have a series against the West Indies in the month of July.

The PCB issued a press release on Friday stating:”Cricket South Africa have expressed their inability to tour Pakistan next month but assured the Pakistan Cricket Board that they will honour the commitment of sending their side as soon as it is reasonably possible.

“The proposed three-match T20I series was over and above the two-Test and three-T20I series in January, next year, which is part of the Future Tours Programme. The CSA conveyed their decision to the PCB this afternoon after taking into account player workload.”

PCB’s Chief Executive Wasim Khan said: “While we were keenly looking forward to hosting South Africa next month, we respect Cricket South Africa’s reason for not sending their side next month. Managing players workload is a top priority for any cricket board, and from that perspective, their decision is understandable.

“We are pleased that the CSA remains committed to rescheduling this short series as soon as practically possible. 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,” he concluded.

Published in Dawn, February 15th, 2020