Not enough tests for the Proteas
So, South Africa will be number one in test match cricket at the cut-off time which is next April despite how all the other series that are on at the moment and others yet to take place will turn out.
Congratulations sure are in order for a quite thrilling season of test match cricket that seemed to merge with last year’s winter tour of England where the Proteas wrested the test mace from The Three Lions’ grasp.
From injuries to several debuts in Australia and staving off defeat all the way until the domination on home soil, many really have looked forward to the fast paced action and pure entertainment on show when the Proteas play. It is a great pity that the next time that the South Africa test match team will play is in seven months time, in October 2013.
There have been fans who have expressed their dissatisfaction with the schedule and the Future Tours Programme, saying that the best side in the world ought to play more often than it does. Well, there was meant to be a full tour to Sri Lanka in June and July of 2013 but on mutual consent it was decided that the test match part of the tour be postponed as this would have been putting too much of a work load on the players of both countries.
Between the end of Pakistan’s tour of South Africa and October 2013 when the two teams meet again in the UAE, there is the IPL, English County Cricket, Champions’ Trophy and Limited overs matches in Sri Lanka and the Champions’ League T20. These events will take up most of the seven months that serve as a rest period for the Proteas players with many of them involved in a couple if not all of them.
Is it right or ideal that South Africa’s test match team is out of action for so long?
There will be varying responses on this but I would say that in order to strike while the iron is hot, the Proteas need to keep playing and also for the reason that many would just love to see them at work. It is already the case that South Africa play less than the likes of Australia, India and England, which is not right in my book as they are “top of the tree” and always there or there about.
The Future Tours Programme has the schedule all mapped out and as one takes a look at it, it is easy to note that certain nations just seem to play more and also have better set out series. For example; The Ashes with England and Australia playing a five match series as well as England and Australia in the Border/Gavaskar Trophy, which is a four test match series. With South Africa as the number one side in the world, and looking like holding onto that status for some time, they should really be playing longer series in the purest form of the game.
Perhaps the onus is on Cricket South Africa to utilise the status of top of the world to instigate longer series that in years to come will be the norm.
That the Proteas are not in action for seven months seems rather ludicrous. There needs to be a better spread in terms of the number of tests, ODIs and T20s played with weighting towards the tests where opponents are closely matched and towards T20s if uneven in terms of strength. That way we do not get a case of uninteresting non-contests but are able to have even the small teams pitting their skills against the best.
It is understandable that players need to rest and cannot be playing all the time, but it would be a good thing to see the best side play a little more often.