Is this the beginning of the end? Dean Elgar laments Cricket South Africa for prioritizing SAT20 over Test cricket

The two-match Test series against New Zealand will clash with the second edition of the SA20 and it is very likely that South Africa will have to send a weak team with all their top star playing in the T20 League to fulfill their franchise contracts.

South Africa Cricket, Test CricketSouth Africa’s Dean Elgar celebrates with teammates and the trophy after winning the match and series (Source: Reuters)

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Dill Elgar likes to talk a lot, he loves to talk with this conversation and he rarely ever holds back on cricketing matters. The former South Africa captain complained about Cricket South Africa (CSA) prioritizing the new franchise T20 league over Test cricket.

South Africa have prioritized the new T20 league over Tests and next year there is a good chance they will be forced to field a weakened squad for the two-match Test series against New Zealand, as they will with the second edition of the SA20 and all their top stars obligated to fulfill their franchise contracts.

“It’s hard to take. It shows what the narrative is when it comes to Test cricket, again it’s the players who suffer,” former Proteas captain Dean Elgar told City Press last month.

“A high percentage of the players still really want to play Test cricket, and it’s just extremely sad and makes a lot of sense in terms of how Test cricket is treated by the authorities.

“We can’t butter our bread on both sides here. It’s tough to have the T20 franchise competition, but what’s the bigger picture?

“How would New Zealand Cricket, with whom we have probably the strongest relationship of any country, see us sending a ‘C’ side over there? This could cause a breakdown in the relationship.”

The CSA reportedly approached New Zealand Cricket about moving the red-ball matches, which form part of the World Test Championship cycle, but the request was rejected.

In this scenario, South Africa will be without Test captain Temba Bavuma, skipper Aiden Markram and star bowler Kagiso Rabada, along with Heinrich Klaasen, Rassie van der Dussen, Lungi Ngidi, Marco Jansen, Anrich Nortje and Keshav Maharaj.

Elgar, who retired from international cricket earlier this year, had complained about the ICC’s FTP calendar giving only 28 Tests to South Africa, a team with a superb bowling attack and batsmen who seem to be finding their feet at this level , the next four years.

“I guess we could have played more,” Elgar ahd said after South Africa won the Lord’s Test in August last year.

“It’s sad, but so be it. I can’t say much about it because I might get in trouble.”

In 2024, 2025 and 2026 South Africa are set to play nine Tests a year, which is more than they are used to, and there are questions and concerns about the state of their Test cricket game until they get to that point .

Although South Africa have never been among the “Big Three”, but the Proteas have always had a punch in the longest format of the game.

Is this the beginning of the end for South Africa’s status as a top-tier Test nation?

While heavyweights India, England and Australia will play in five-Test series, South Africa will not play anyone with more than two matches in the 2023-25 ​​World Test Championship schedule. South African cricket boss Pholetsi Moseki said in August it was “unfortunate” for the purists not to play more Tests, but hosting them was costing the board too much money.

First published on: 18-08-2023 at 08:41 IST

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