Proteas: 5-Test series plan

2014-12-17 12:29
Haroon Lorgat (File)
Cape Town – There is light at the end of the tunnel for connoisseurs of the long-form game wishing to see the world-leading Proteas involved in some overdue five-Test series.

Although no official word has been forthcoming yet from either Cricket South Africa (CSA) or the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), Sport24 understands that agreement in principle has been reached between the two governing bodies for at least two series between the Proteas and England (one home, one away) a little down to the scheduling line to involve five contests.

England are due on these shores as the headline act next summer (2015/16) and CSA’s chief executive Haroon Lorgat had pushed even as soon as that series for it to comprise five Tests, but England could not make it happen logistically.

The English will nevertheless play a decent enough four Tests here next season for the now-traditional Basil D’Oliveira Trophy – Durban, Cape Town, Johannesburg and Centurion in that order – and bring their usual swollen tally of supporters escaping the chilly domestic winter.

Their “Barmy Army”, relishing a favourable exchange rate (the rand is presently at well over 18 to the pound) not only bring a great atmosphere to the bilateral duels but contribute in no small measure to the South African economy while on safari.

It will be the No 1-ranked Proteas’ first series made up of more than three Tests in 19, if you include the current three-Test one against West Indies and next year’s away series against Bangladesh (two) and India (three) before England arrive.

But even better news is that beyond next season’s England series, many of the current SA Test players may finally get to experience a five-match one when the sides meet again – they are due to lock horns once more in 2017 (England) and 2019/20 (South Africa).

The Proteas last played a five-Test roster as far back as the 2004/05 season, when a particularly strong England side of the time led by Michael Vaughan pipped Graeme Smith’s home outfit 2-1: of the SA side playing the Test against West Indies at Centurion right now, only Dale Steyn, Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers were involved as then-rookies.

The cream of South Africa’s Test players are always envious of the regular five-Test Ashes series between England and Australia, especially, as series of that duration are regarded as the truest examination of quality and durability in the game’s most distinguished arena.

So any strides by CSA toward longer series have to be considered encouraging news.

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

Read more on:    proteas  |  cricket

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