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Cricket news - Cash-strapped CSA truncate 2020-21 domestic season

Each team's campaign in the first-class season will be trimmed down to 14 games.

Each team's campaign in the first-class season will be trimmed down to 14 games.

Franchise teams will play almost a third fewer league matches next season in terms of a domestic restructure announced on Wednesday by Cricket South Africa (CSA).

Currently, the six sides play each of their opponents once in a home and away round-robin system in the first-class and one-day formats. But that will change from 2020-21, when the teams will be divided into two groups of three. Group members will take each on other home and away, but will play the sides in the other group only once; home or away. Each team's campaign will thus be trimmed from 20 first-class and one-day league games to 14.

Cost-cutting is a major motivation for the move. CSA is deep in debt because of alleged mismanagement by its board and previous administration. Resignations, suspensions and new appointments, most of them temporary, have quelled the troubled waters. But the organisation is still likely to struggle to attract sponsors and could find itself in difficult negotiations with broadcasters.

"The new structures, as recommended by the CSA cricket committee, were approved at a joint meeting of the CSA members' council and the CSA board of directors," a release on Wednesday said. "The South African Cricketers' Association (SACA) has also been consulted and kept informed as the process has unfolded."

A previous domestic restructure plan, hatched by the former administration, would have cost up to 70 professional players their jobs and put CSA at odds with SACA, who responded by launching since abandoned legal action.

"It is important that we announce the new structures timeously so that all franchises and provinces have a clear picture of the road ahead to advise the contracting of their players," the release quoted CSA acting chief executive Jacques Faul as saying. "I would like to thank all our stakeholders for buying into the new structures."

There was no word in the release on the future of the Mzansi Super League, CSA's popular but money-bleeding T20 tournament. But Cricbuzz understands it could go ahead next summer.

Covid-19 permitting, South Africa's 2020-21 season should start in October.

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