Cape Town - The Proteas have a tough tour to India as their first assignment in the new-look World Test Championship that will begin after next year's Cricket World Cup.
That was the big news for South Africa when the International Cricket Council (ICC) released the latest version of its Future Tour Programme (FTP) on Wednesday.
The FTP runs from 2018 through to the 2023 World Cup and includes the scheduling for the first ever World Test Championship.
The tournament will run through to June 2021, and South Africa's first taste of the competition will come on a three-Test tour to India in October 2019.
Not all Tests on the FTP will count towards the Test Championship, however.
There is also the introduction of a 13-team ODI League, which will run from May 2020 until March 2022.
South Africa's first match in the ODI League will be against Sri Lanka in June, 2020.
Meanwhile, the next time South Africa play Australia in Test action will be in 2021 when they host their old rivals in a three-Test series while they will host England in a blockbuster series next year that will include 4 Tests, 3 ODIs and 3 T20Is over December 2019 and January 2020.
"The introduction of the World Test Championship and an ODI league will give these formats the much-needed context to ensure their long-term viability along with the popular T20 format," commented CSA Acting Chief Executive Thabang Moroe.
"The Championship and the league have been designed in a manner that is easy for all stakeholders, especially the fans, to follow as it leads up to a World Test Championship final and qualification for the ICC Cricket World Cup which makes all International matches important.
"We look forward to following the progress of our Proteas in both these competitions and to the enhanced products that we will be able to offer to our fans, our commercial partners and our players during our various bilateral tours. It is truly a win-win situation for all."
Nine top-ranked sides will participate in the inaugural edition of the World Test Championship, which will run from July 15, 2019.
The sides will play six series in the two-year cycle on a home and away basis against opponents they have mutually selected. The two top-ranked sides will then progress to the June 2021 final to decide the World Test champions.
In addition, the 12 Test playing nations and the Netherlands will participate in the 13-team ODI League.
All the sides will play eight series over a two-year cycle on a home and away basis against mutually agreed opponents.
This league will serve as a qualification pathway for the World Cup in 2023.
India (as hosts) plus the seven highest-ranked sides in the ODI league as on March 31, 2022 will qualify directly for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023, while the bottom five sides will get a second chance to qualify through the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier.
South Africa's schedule until 2023 World Cup:
*** indicates a World Test Championship fixture
July/August 2018: 2 Tests, 5 ODIs, 1 T20I v Sri Lanka (away)
October 2018: 3 ODIs, 3 T20Is v Zimbabwe (home)
November 2018: 3 ODIs, 1 T20I v Australia (away)
December 2018/January 2019: 3 Tests, 5 ODIs, 3 T20Is v Pakistan (home)
February/March 2019: 2 Tests, 5 ODIs, 3 T20Is v Sri Lanka (away)
June/July 2019: ICC Cricket World Cup (England)
October 2019: 3 Tests v India (away) ***
December 2019/January 2020: 4 Tests, 3 ODIs, 3 T20Is v England (home) ***
February 2020: 3 ODIs, 3 T20Is v Australia (home)
March 2020: 3 ODIs, 3 T20Is v India (away)
June 2020: 3 ODIs, 3 T20Is v Sri Lanka (away)
July/August 2020: 2 Tests, 3 T20Is v West Indies (away) ***
October 2020: 3 ODIs, 3 T20Is v Pakistan (away)
October/November 2020: ICC World T20
January 2021: 2 Tests v Sri Lanka (home) ***
January/February 2021: 2 Tests, 3 T20Is v Pakistan (away) ***
February/March 2021: 3 Tests v Australia (home) ***
March/April 2021: 3 ODIs, 3 T20Is v England (away)
June 2021: World Test Championship final
June 2021: 3 ODIs, 3 T20Is v Ireland (away)
September 2021: 3 ODIs v Netherlands (away)
October 2021: 3 ODIs, 3 T20Is v India (away)
October/November 2021: ICC World T20
December 2021/January 2022: 3 Tests, 3 T20Is v India (home)
January/February 2022: 3 ODIs, 3 T20Is v Australia (away)
February/March 2022: 2 Tests, 3 T20Is v New Zealand (away)
March 2022: 2 Tests, 3 ODIs v Bangladesh (home)
July/August 2022: 3 Tests v England (away)
August 2022: 2 ODIs v Ireland (away)
August/September 2022: 3 ODIs, 3 T20Is v England (away)
October 2022: 2 Tests, 3 T20Is v West Indies (home)
December 2022/January 2023: 3 Tests, 3 ODIs v Australia (away)
January 2023: 2 ODIs v Sri Lanka (away)
February 2023: 2 ODIs v Ireland (away)
February/March 2023: ICC World Cup