'It’s the players who suffer' - Dean Elgar lambasts CSA for prioritising SA20 over Test cricket
Elgar's remarks highlight a growing trend in cricketing circles, where the charm of T20 leagues is overshadowing the importance of Test cricket.
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Former South African Test captain, Deal Elgar, has raised concerns about the prioritization of Cricket South Africa's (CSA) new T20 franchise league over the Test format. Elgar's remarks highlight a growing trend in cricketing circles, where the charm of T20 leagues is overshadowing the importance of Test cricket.
Elgar expressed his disappointment with CSA's decision to favor the T20 league, potentially leading to a weakened Test squad for the upcoming series against New Zealand.
"It shows what the narrative is when it comes to Test cricket, and again it’s the players who suffer," he said In an interview with City Press. “A high percentage of the players still really want to play Test cricket, and it’s just extremely sad and clarifies a lot of things when it comes to how Test cricket is viewed by the authorities. We can’t butter our bread on both sides here. It’s lekker to have the franchise T20 competition, but what’s the bigger picture?"
CSA's attempt to reschedule red-ball fixtures, part of the World Test Championship cycle, was rejected by New Zealand Cricket. This leaves South Africa's Test team without a host of key players for the series. Elgar questioned the decision of sending a 'C' side and its effect on relationships with other cricketing nations.
Elgar's concerns extend to the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Future Tours Programme (FTP) calendar, offering South Africa just 28 Tests over the next four years. He expressed his frustration, saying, "It’s a sad thing but so be it." The reduced number of Tests raises questions about the team's development and competitiveness.
Despite not being part of the "Big Three", South Africa has been a force in Test cricket. However, their reduced Test playing frequency, contrasted with the longer series of India, England, and Australia, raises speculation about their future as a top-tier Test nation. While CSA boss Pholetsi Moseki acknowledged the disappointment of purists, financial constraints have influenced the decision to host fewer Tests.
Looking ahead, South Africa's Test cricket future seems uncertain. The team is scheduled to play more Tests annually in 2024, 2025, and 2026, but concerns persist about the impact of reduced exposure on their performance. As the charm of T20 leagues grows, cricketing boards face the challenge of striking a balance between financial gains and the heritage of Test cricket.