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Former Australia skipper Steve Waugh slams ICC and cricket boards for neglecting Test cricket
Former Australia skipper Steve Waugh has expressed his disappointment with the International Cricket Council (ICC) and top cricket boards for their lack of support for Test cricket. This comes after Cricket South Africa (CSA) announced a depleted Test squad for the tour of New Zealand, giving priority to its T20 league over the traditional format of the game.
South Africa’s prioritization of T20 league
Cricket South Africa has chosen to field a second-string Test squad, comprising seven uncapped players and a new captain, for the upcoming two-Test series against New Zealand. This decision has been made in light of the fact that the top South African cricketers are contracted to play in the SA20, a T20 league launched by CSA and Indian Premier League investors, which clashes with the tour. As per a CSA ruling, players contracted to SA20 franchises are not eligible for selection for the Tests.
Steve Waugh’s criticism
Steve Waugh has expressed his disappointment with this development, stating, “Obviously, they don’t care. It’s going to happen if the South African cricket board are any indication of the future, keeping their best players at home.” He further added, “If I was New Zealand, I wouldn’t even play the series. I don’t know why they’re even playing. Why would you when it shows a lack of respect for New Zealand cricket?”
Waugh took to Instagram to voice his concerns, questioning whether this could be a defining moment in the decline of Test cricket. He emphasized the need for the ICC and cricket boards of India, England, and Australia to intervene and uphold the sanctity of the longest format of the game.
Consequences of prioritizing T20 over Test cricket
This is not the first time South Africa has given precedence to its domestic T20 league over international cricket. Last year, they opted to forfeit an ODI series in Australia in favor of allowing their best players to feature in the league. Waugh believes that if the ICC or the top cricketing nations do not address this issue promptly, the essence of Test cricket will be lost, as players are not being tested against the best.
Concerns for the future
Waugh also expressed concerns about the trend extending to other cricketing nations, citing examples of Pakistan and the West Indies not sending their full-strength teams to Australia for Test series. He believes that the lack of proper remuneration for players in Test cricket and the absence of a set fee for Test matches may lead players to prioritize shorter formats of the game over Tests, ultimately undermining the significance of the traditional format.
With the diminishing presence of top players in Test cricket, Waugh fears that the sport may lose its historical and traditional appeal, overshadowing the legacies of cricketing legends such as Sir Don Bradman, WG Grace, and Sir Garfield Sobers if profits continue to dictate decisions.
In conclusion, the neglect of Test cricket by cricket boards and the ICC, as highlighted by Steve Waugh, raises significant concerns about the future of the longest format of the game. It not only impacts the quality of competition but also diminishes the historical and traditional significance of Test cricket. It is imperative for the governing bodies to address these concerns and prioritize the preservation of Test cricket’s legacy for the benefit of the sport and its followers.