World Cricket structure to blame for lack of SA-Zim matches


CEO of the South African Cricketers' Association (SACA), Tony Irish, has placed the blame for the lack of cricket played between South Africa and Zimbabwe squarely at the feet of the ICC.

Irish was responding to claims made by Zimbabwe caretaker coach, Makhaya Ntini, in a recent interview with the Sunday Times, that Cricket South Africa are doing nothing to help Zimbabwe and are reluctant to face their neighbours in bilateral tours.

The SACA CEO pointed to changes in the structure of international cricket and the lack of a binding FTP as the reason behind the dearth of cricket between the two African nations, Irish told ESPN Cricinfo: "The real problem is with the international cricket structure as a whole.

"At the time of the 'Big Three' takeover at ICC, the FTP was de-regulated and the smaller countries lost the benefit of being part of a framework in which all countries were obliged to play all others home and away every four years,"

"The FTP was replaced with ad hoc bilateral agreements with no touring guarantees for the small countries.

"The schedule is now so packed with these ad hoc agreements that it's difficult to schedule additional tours with a genuine [South Africa] team just to help out another country."

The calibre of cricket played by South Africa makes them an attractive prospect for series against the big three of India, Australia and England. The restructuring has meant that South Africa now play more cricket against the established nations, and less against unfashionable teams like Zimbabwe.

Since 2014, South Africa have visited Zimbabwe only once, playing one test and competing in a triangular ODI series that included Australia.

Irish was quick to deny Ntini's claim that South Africa didn't want to take part in that series in 2014, saying: "I wasn't aware of any suggestion that South Africa wouldn't visit Zimbabwe in 2014,"