‘Shows lack of respect. Even PAK…’: Waugh wants ICC, BCCI to save Test cricket | Cricket

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Former Australia captain Steve Waugh was left fuming on Monday after Cricket South Africa (CSA) named a second-string Test squad, comprising seven uncapped players, including a new captain, for next month’s two-match series against New Zealand. Calling the act “disrespectful”, Waugh urged the International Cricket Council and top cricket boards, including the BCCI to step in and save Test cricket.

Steve Waugh wants ICC and other top cricketing boards to save Test cricket
Steve Waugh wants ICC and other top cricketing boards to save Test cricket

Top players from South Africa, most of whom are presently part of the two-match series at home against India, are contracted to play in the second season of the SA20, the nation’s very own franchise-based T20 league launched by CSA and Indian Premier League investors last year, which clashes with the dates of the New Zealand tour. Based on the rules of CSA, players on contract with SA20 franchises are not eligible for selection for the Tests, thus leading to the board naming a depleted squad.

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“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 Herald. “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?”

The Aussie legend had first taken to Instagram to raise his concern over the matter as he fears that the legacy of some of the greats like Don Bradman and WG Grace, among others, who graced the game, will soon become irrelevant.

“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.

Waugh feels that ICC or even top boards across the globe should set a regulation fee for Test cricket in a bid for budding players to fall for the incentive.

“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 suffers because it’s not the full side playing, so it’s not Test cricket,” he added.

It is not just South Africa, Waugh even pointed out that neither Pakistan nor the West Indies sent their full-strength teams to Australia for the Test series, and hence 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 said.

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