Johannesburg: Afghanistan have replaced Australia in a development tour of South Africa after the latter pulled out due to a pay dispute between its players and board.
With talks between the union and governing body Cricket Australia deadlocked, the players decided they would boycott the triangular series between the ‘A’ sides.
Australia’s ‘A’ team, captained by Test batsman Usman Khawaja, were scheduled to play two four-day matches and a 50-over tri-series against India and South Africa on the tour.
Afghanistan will now join South Africa and India for the series starting later this month.
“We are delighted that Afghanistan have accepted our invitation and look forward to welcoming them to our country for the very first time,” Cricket South Africa chief executive Haroon Lorgat said in a statement.
“They are a passionate cricket nation and I expect the Afghanistan A team to compete strongly against our A team and India A in the upcoming tri-series.”
The International Cricket Council (ICC) voted in London last month to make Afghanistan, along with Ireland, full members of the organisation, allowing those countries to become part of the elite 12 nations who play Test matches.
“We are very pleased to accept Cricket South Africa’s invitation to participate in the upcoming triangular series,” Afghanistan Cricket Board chief executive Shafiqullah Stanikzai said.
“This will be our first-ever visit to South Africa and I am certain that this will give Afghanistan ‘A’ team very good exposure to competitive cricket.”