‘Death of Test cricket..’: Australia’s Steve Waugh warns ICC, BCCI, says ‘can’t allow profits to define legacy’

The popularity of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and other domestic cricket tournaments of the world showcases the transformation in cricket. Once cherished for its Test format, the post-modern world seems too busy to appreciate the longest format of the game. After the announcement of South Africa’s Test squad for the New Zealand tour, former Australia captain Steve Waugh couldn’t stop himself from raising concerns over the future of Test cricket and even called it a “defining moment in the death of Test cricket”.

Steve Waugh’s remarks come as South Africa announced its second-string squad for the Test series in New Zealand. South Africa’s uncapped player Niel Brand will lead the team against the mighty Kiwis. The squad has only three players from the current team playing against India- Keegan Petersen, David Bedingham, and Zubayr Hamza.

The top players of South Africa will remain engaged in the second season of SA20, Cricket South Africa’s domestic tournament, and then IPL 2024. The domestic tournaments don’t allow the players to be available for the Test format of the game.

“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. A premium, equal match fee for all test players might be a good starting point. History and tradition must count for something. If we stand by and allow profits to be the defining criteria the legacy of Bradman, Grace, and Sobers will be irrelevant,” Steve Waugh said on Instagram.

The Test vs T20 cricket issue has been brewing up for some time now with veteran players raising concerns about the fading interest in the Test format. The International Cricket Council (ICC) and domestic cricket boards of the countries are not looking very enthusiastic about Test cricket.

The South African cricket administration has expressed confidence in their Test squad for the New Zealand series with coach Shukri Conrad saying that the team is confident for the Test matches. “The players selected for this tour have every chance of challenging New Zealand,” the coach said.

‘Don’t think it’s in as dramatic a decline’: Pat Cummins

Australia skipper Pat Cummins accepted that he sometimes worries about the future of the Test format of the game but doesn’t think that it is in a dramatic decline. The remarks come as Australia is playing a Test series against Pakistan and the third Test is scheduled in Sydney from January 3-7.

“My hopes are that it’s even stronger than it is now, in 10 years’ time or 20 years’ time. I think in some regards leading to this Test summer, some of the question marks were against Pakistan and West Indies. We’ve had two fantastic Test matches against Pakistan, really well supported, big crowds,” Cummins told reporters ahead of the third Test against Pakistan as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.

“So I don’t think it’s in as dramatic a decline as sometimes it gets spoken about. But I think there is an issue just with the amount of other cricket out there, obviously, competition for talent is higher than it’s ever been,” he added.

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Published: 02 Jan 2024, 03:33 PM IST

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