Steve Waugh claims that the administrators of the game are expediting the decline of Test cricket.

Former Australia captain Steve Waugh has criticized South Africa’s decision to send a substitute team to New Zealand for a Test tour while their top players participate in a domestic T20 tournament, stating that it demonstrates a serious threat to the longest format of the game.

Waugh expressed his thoughts in an Instagram post, claiming that Cricket South Africa’s choice to select seven inexperienced players, including captain Neil Brand, marks a “defining moment in the decline of Test cricket”.

He further emphasized that the International Cricket Council (ICC) and other governing bodies should intervene to safeguard Test cricket. “Clearly, they don’t care,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald. “If I were New Zealand, I wouldn’t even participate in the series. I don’t understand why they’re playing when it displays a lack of respect for New Zealand cricket.”

“If the ICC or someone doesn’t step in soon, Test cricket will lose its essence because you won’t be challenging yourself against the best players.” Reuters has reached out to the ICC for comment.

The ICC has limited influence over bilateral cricket schedules or domestic T20 leagues, as those decisions lie with the respective cricket boards. The ICC Chairman, Greg Barclay, previously stated to the BBC that “there’s not much we can do” regarding T20 leagues dominating the cricket calendar.

The proliferation of franchise cricket has resulted in a decrease in bilateral tours in recent years, with the West Indies in particular struggling to field their strongest squad. Cricket South Africa canceled a tour of Australia in early 2020 to ensure the participation of its top players in the inaugural edition of the SA T20, which is financially supported by Indian Premier League franchises.

Australia’s captain Pat Cummins expressed hope that South Africa’s decision does not indicate a diminishing interest in Test cricket. “I know the South African team isn’t sending their strongest side, and I hope it’s just a temporary phase,” Cummins told reporters before the third Test against Pakistan. “I don’t think it’s as drastic of a decline as it’s sometimes portrayed, but there is an issue with the abundance of other cricket being played.”

Pakistan’s captain Shan Masood suggested that better scheduling could have prevented this situation. “All the top teams have to compete in the World Test Championship, so it’s unfortunate that South Africa couldn’t send their full-strength squad,” the batsman commented. “Hopefully, in the future, schedules can be arranged to ensure the strongest elevens participate in Test cricket.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *