South Africa has decided to forfeit their ODI series against Australia scheduled for January in a blow to their automatic qualification for the World Cup next year.

The Proteas are currently languishing in the 11th spot with 49 points of the ICC’s ODI Super League with only the top eight teams from the 12 ICC full member nations plus the Netherlands qualifying for the tournament automatically.

Cricket South Africa had made a request to Cricket Australia to move the series as the CSA plans to host a new domestic six-team franchise competition at that time and wants all the nationally contracted Proteas players to be available.

The abandonment will result in the 30 points from the series being awarded to Australia as the matches cannot be rescheduled before the qualification cut-off date in May.

Australia can count themselves lucky as they currently sit 8th (the last automatic qualification spot) but have plenty of time to correct their course.

South Africa’s remaining Super League matches before the cut-off date are against the world champions England and the formidable India meaning they face an uphill battle to climbing out of the bottom five.

The bottom five sides will have to compete with five associate teams in a qualifying tournament with the final two spots on the line.

Cricket South Africa is just recovering from a turbulent time in its cricketing history, and a failure to qualify for the pinnacle tournament of the cricketing world will not do them any favors in the recovery.

The three test match series between South Africa and Australia will go ahead as scheduled.

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