Steve Waugh slams South Africa for naming depleted squad, ICC for not caring about Test cricket

The top South African cricketers are contracted to play in the second season of the SA20, the T20 league launched by CSA and Indian Premier League investors, which clashes with the tour.

January 01, 2024 04:25 pm | Updated 06:50 pm IST - Sydney

Former Australia skipper Steve Waugh

Former Australia skipper Steve Waugh | Photo Credit: The Hindu

Former Australia skipper Steve Waugh has slammed the International Cricket Council and top cricket boards, including the BCCI, for not caring about Test cricket after South Africa named a depleted red-ball squad for the tour of New Zealand, prioritising its T20 league over the longest format.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) have named a second-string Test squad which has seven uncapped players, including a new captain, for next month's two-Test series against New Zealand.

The top South African cricketers are contracted to play in the second season of the SA20, the T20 league launched by CSA and Indian Premier League investors, which clashes with the tour.

According to a CSA ruling, no player contracted to SA20 franchises is eligible for selection for the Tests.

"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," Waugh told the Sydney Morning Hearld.

"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?" Initially, Waugh had taken to Instagram to raise his concern.

"Is this a defining moment in the death of Test cricket? Surely the ICC along (with) the cricket boards of India, England and Australia must step in to protect the purest form of the game.

"History and tradition must count for something. If we stand by and allow profits to be the defining criteria, the legacy of (Sir Don) Bradman, (WG) Grace and (Sir Garfield) Sobers will be irrelevant," he wrote.

It's not the first time South Africa has prioritised its domestic T20 league over international cricket. Last year, they forfeited an ODI series in Australia to have their best players feature in that league.

"If the ICC or someone doesn't step in shortly then Test cricket doesn't become Test cricket because you're not testing yourself against the best players.

"I understand why players don't come. They're not getting paid properly.

"I don't understand why ICC or the top countries, who are making a lot of money, don't just have a regulation set fee for Test matches which is a premium, so people are incentivised to play Test cricket.

"Otherwise, they just play T10 or T20. The public are the ones who are going to suffer because it's not the full side playing, so it's not Test cricket," Waugh said.

With neither Pakistan nor the West Indies sending their full-strength teams to Australia for the Test series, Waugh fears the trend will continue.

"It's pretty obvious what the problem is. The West Indies aren't sending their full-strength side (to Australia this summer). They haven't picked a full-strength Test team for a couple of years now.

"Someone like Nicholas Pooran is really a Test batsman who doesn't play Test cricket. Jason Holder, probably their best player, is not playing now. Even Pakistan didn't send a full side (to Australia)," he added.

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