For the first time since the 1986 edition of the World Cup, cricket can witness a 50-over World Cup without South Africa featuring in it. The Proteas first featured in the World Cup in 1992 and have played all the edition so far.
However, they are now in a big danger of missing next year’s World Cup. South Africa have made things extremely chaotic for themselves by cancelling their ODI series against Australia.
The ODI series, which was to follow the three-match Test series, was scheduled to be played from January 12 to 17 next year. The series was set to be part of the ongoing ICC Super League – the cut-off for which in is May next year.
By withdrawing from the series, the African country has conceded the points from the three-match ODI series to Australia. A total of 30 ODI Super League points were on offer in the series and all the points are likely to be awarded to Australia.
South Africa in danger of missing ICC World Cup 2023:
South Africa’s performance in the ongoing ICC Super League has not been good so far. From 13 Super League matches so far, they have won only four.
They lost one game against minnows Ireland while two games against Ireland and the Netherlands have been declared a no result, costing them valuable points. Out of the seven defeats, they have lost four at home against Bangladesh and Pakistan.
At present, they are languishing at the 11th spot in the points table and are well outside the automatic qualification spots. At the end of the two-year cycle, only the top seven teams plus India (the host nation) will qualify automatically for the World Cup.
Here is the ICC Super League points table:
Given the condition they are in right now, South Africa should have been desperate to collect all the available points. The road ahead, however, is not easy as they are set to play against heavyweights like India and England.
In such a situation, South Africa have only made things worse for them by cancelling the ODIs in Australia.
What if South Africa fails to gain automatic qualification for ICC World Cup 2023:
Given their present situation, it is not very unlikely that South Africa could fail to gain automatic qualification for ICC World Cup 2023. However, it won’t be the end of road for the Proteas.
They will get another shot at the World Cup qualification. Even if they fail to qualify automatically for the World Cup, they can qualify for the competition by finishing in the top two in the qualifier event in Zimbabwe next year.
And while South Africa will be the favourites if they play the qualifier event, not many would rule out the chance of an upset. In recent times, the lower-ranked teams have shown that they are more than capable of beating their fancied opponents.
In the ongoing Super League, Ireland have defeated West Indies (twice), England and South Africa, while the Netherlands in turn beat Ireland 2-1 in a series last year.
The likes of Scotland and Namibia are not a part of the Super League but they are among the contenders to reach the qualifier tournament. Both the teams have shown their capability by doing well in T20Is in recent times. In last year’s T20 World Cup, Scotland had defeated Bangladesh while Namibia had got the better of Ireland.