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SA first-class calendar to feature two-month pause for T20 league

Cricket South Africa President Chris Nenzani speaks at the inaugural player draft of the T20 Global League T20 Global League

South Africa's six domestic franchises will compete in all three formats - including a T20 event - in the 2017-18 summer, which will be headlined by the inaugural T20 Global League.

To accommodate for the privately-owned glamour competition, there will be no domestic cricket for almost two months, between October 26 and December 20, while the T20 Global League is played. In that time, all South Africa's national players will be available, but their likelihood of featuring for their franchises has been reduced by a packed international calendar that sees them hosting Bangladesh, India and Australia.

The domestic season begins with a round of first-class fixtures which start on September 19, nine days before the Test series against Bangladesh begins on September 28. Four more rounds of first-class cricket will be played before the format takes an extended break until February 8. That means South Africa's cricketers will be without immediate long-form practice before the Test series against India. Dates are yet to be confirmed but that series is expected to start in January 2018 and CSA are considering other opponents to fill the gap over Boxing Day.

India are understood to want at least two tour matches before the series, which could delay the traditional New Year's Test, but will provide an opportunity for some South African players to get back into the red-ball mindset after six weeks of T20 cricket.

The T20 Global League will be played from November 3 until December 16, after which the domestic one-day cup will kick off. It will run from December 20 until February 4, and will follow the usual format of a league round, semi-finals and a final.

The second-half of the first-class competition will be played between February 8 and March 11, by which time South Africa will be involved in a four-Test series against Australia which will also coincide with the franchise T20 tournament. From March 14 to April 15, the six franchises will compete in two sets of round-robin matches against each other, semi-finals and a final.

For the second season in succession, the T20 competition is set to be played without a sponsor. In the 2015-16 summer, courier company RAM put their name to the event which was broadcast internationally for the first time. It was marred by a corruption scandal which saw seven players, including former internationals Alviro Petersen, Thami Tsolekile, Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Gulam Bodi, banned for between two and 20 years, for their roles in attempting to fix matches. RAM did not back the competition in 2016-17 and it was played with CSA's sole funding. It appears that will be the case again in 2017-18.