Australia in SA

Better Test deal looms for SA

2014-03-12 13:02
Haroon Lorgat (Gallo)
Cape Town – A push toward fuller Test series against leading opponents was confirmed on Wednesday by Cricket South Africa chief executive Haroon Lorgat.

Lorgat told Sport24 CSA was “in a good space” in terms of ensuring more expanded series against traditionally strong foes like Australia and England – it is also understood there is little likelihood of a repeat of the unpopular, skinny two-Test roster against India that was experienced on our soil earlier this season.

The CSA boss was responding to reports this week quoting Cricket Australia chairman Wally Edwards as saying future series between the Aussies and Proteas would probably be increased from three Tests to four.

Edwards told www.espncricinfo.com that “we are talking to them (CSA) at the moment about more (Tests) ... they deserve more.

“You’ve got to recognise the quality of the cricket, I think (in the recent series won 2-1 by the Baggy Greens in SA).

“It’s not a bad stepping stone to have recognised quality by (adding) another Test or two. That principle might come out.”

Lorgat said CSA was “very much” in favour of such moves.

“We initiated it (the discussions) ... Wally was very excited when we chatted at Newlands a few days ago.

“There is agreement that we want to enhance the narrative around series between our countries; for example, a proper naming of the series, like the Kallis-Ponting Trophy, is gaining momentum.”

South Africa and England have played for the Basil D’Oliveira Trophy – in honour of the South African-born England icon of apartheid-era decades past – since 2004/05.

That summer on local soil was the last time those nations played each other over five Tests (England won 2-1) and, although Lorgat would not be drawn on the subject, it is known that CSA are exploring the possibility of expanding the provisionally earmarked four-Test 2015/16 series here to five contests.

It would doubtless please the Proteas’ stalwart Test players, who have experienced no Ashes-like, five-Test series of any kind since that England visit to South Africa in 2004/05.

Lorgat is currently working on nailing down new bilateral agreements with major counterparts for series stretching through the next 10 years to 2024.

“The great challenge is obviously to find the time and space on the international calendar to fit in (expanded Test series),” he said.

“There is always pressure on the calendar over the peak Test time of December and January (in the southern hemisphere).”

South Africa stay the No 1-ranked Test side on the official ICC ladder, and prospects seem rosy that future series against all of Nos 2-4 (Australia, India and England in that present order) will comprise a minimum of four Tests.

Some series against lesser countries will presumably continue to feature as few as two Tests, but that has been largely been the norm for some time anyway when superpowers tackle minnows.

To fight the scheduling logjam, Cricket Australia are reportedly re-exploring the possibility of installing home Test matches against lesser-ranked opponents during the Aussie winter, in  such suitable, temperate climes as Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Lorgat said CSA was similarly not averse to winter Tests in areas of South Africa that largely avoid winter rainfall, like the Highveld and KwaZulu-Natal.

“If we open up any new windows, it would be good,” he said.

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

Read more on:    csa  |  ozinsa  |  haroon lorgat  |  cricket
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