DURBAN: South Africa, providing they have qualified, and Australia will prepare for the men’s ODI World Cup with a five-match series in September. The fixtures are part of an eight-match limited-overs tour by Australia, beginning with three T20Is in Durban in late August which will be the first assignment for the yet-to-named new T20 captain following Aaron Finch’s international retirement. The tour is essentially making up for the cancelled Test series in early 2021 when Australia withdrew amid concerns over Covid-19 but there won’t be any Tests in this itinerary. It means it will be eight years between Australia playing Tests on South African soil with the next visit scheduled for 2026 under the latest FTP. The two teams had been due to meet in an ODI series in Australia during January but South Africa withdrew to enable their players to be available for the inaugural SA20. It left their World Cup qualification hopes on a knife edge and though they now sit in the top eight of the Super League their fate still rests on the outcome of the Ireland-Bangladesh series which will be held in England next week. If Ireland were to win 3-0 they would leapfrog South Africa, forcing them into the qualifying event in June. “It is the start of the international season for us and it is a particularly important campaign in many respects because of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup which is taking place in India later in the year,” CSA chief executive Pholetsi Moseki said. “We haven’t qualified just yet, but we hope to be there and challenging the best in the world when the tournament is played in October and November.” Durban is getting the full T20I series as compensation for not hosting any international cricket during the 2022-23 season. The ODIs will be staged across Bloemfontein, Potchefstroom, Centurion and Johannesburg. South Africa are also due to play India in five T20Is and two Tests after the ODI World Cup. This tour will come a month after Australia have completed their Ashes series in England. They then have further ODIs scheduled against India ahead of the World Cup which is expected to start on October 5. Pat Cummins is the ODI captain having replaced Finch late last year but has so far only led the team in two matches having missed the series in India during March following the death of his mother. Australia men in South Africa 2023-24 August 30: 1st ODI, Durban September 1: 2nd ODI, Durban September 3: 3rd ODI, Durban September 7: 1st ODI, Bloemfontein September 9: 2nd ODI, Bloemfontein September 12: 3rd ODI, Potchefstroom September 15: 4th ODI, Centurion September 17: 5th ODI, Johannesburg.