“Clearly, they don’t give a damn”: Steve Waugh worries about the future of Test cricket.

Steve Waugh

Steve Waugh, a former captain of Australia, expressed dismay at Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) plan to send a shadow side on a Test tour to New Zealand while their best players compete in a domestic T20 league, raising concerns about the future of Test cricket.
For the two-Test tour to New Zealand, which begins on January 10 in conjunction with the second SA20 T20 event, CSA has selected seven uncapped players, including captain Neil Brand.

In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Waugh pleaded with the International Cricket Council (ICC) and other officials to step in and protect the game’s longest format.

They obviously don’t give a damn. Test cricket doesn’t become Test cricket if the ICC or someone else doesn’t intervene quickly because you’re not pitting yourself against the top players,” Waugh said.
Bilateral tours have faced difficulties due to the growth of franchise cricket and domestic T20 leagues, which has also reduced the availability of elite players for Test matches.
With little control over bilateral scheduling, the ICC finds it challenging to resolve these concerns.
Pat Cummins, the captain of Australia, expressed optimism that South Africa’s choice was merely a temporary measure rather than a sign of a larger movement away from Test cricket.

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“I know the South African team aren’t sending their strongest side; I’m hoping it’s just a phase,” Cummins commented. “I don’t think it’s as dramatic a decline as it sometimes gets spoken about, but I think there is an issue just with the amount of other cricket out there.”

Shan Masood, the captain of Pakistan, emphasized the significance of fielding the best eleven players in Test cricket and said that the issue might have been averted with better scheduling.

“All the best sides have to play for the World Test Championship, so it’s a pity that South Africa aren’t able to send their full-strength squad,” Masood said. “Hopefully, somewhere down the line, schedules can be made in a certain way where we see the strongest elevens playing Test cricket.”

The current state of affairs prompts requests for strategic interventions to maintain the integrity and competitiveness of the longest format of cricket, as well as more general considerations about how profitable T20 leagues and the traditional format of Test cricket should be balanced.

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