Cape Town - The
fanfare around the establishment at long last of a World Test Championship
seems to come with a smokescreen ... or at least as far as South Africa is
currently second-ranked Proteas will naturally play an integral part in the
International Cricket Council's new baby, which kicks in during 2019, their
actual weight in future Test matches is trimming down - at least according to
the latest Future Tours Programme (FTP) that takes in the period up to World
Cup 2023 in India.
FTP does allow for expansion in bilateral rosters, across the formats, the
signs don't look especially good for SA connoisseurs of the longest-form brand
over the next few years.
will be a while before the Proteas, for instance, get anything like the volume
of Test matches in a home summer that they experienced last season, when
Bangladesh were tackled twice, Zimbabwe once, India three times and Australia
four for a total of 10.
already been known that the tally would slide by 50 percent to five for the
upcoming season, when Cricket South Africa may find it tough to market
respective series not embracing traditional "big four powers" action against
Pakistan (three) and Sri Lanka (two).
things stand, there is also no hike beyond five home Tests - and sometimes it
is even fewer - in SA right up to the end of the FTP cycle.
are due to play only four home Tests in 2019/20, all against England, five in
2020/21 (two Sri Lanka, three Australia), five in 2021/22 (three India, two
Bangladesh) and a miserly two in 2022/23 (both West Indies).
That is a
total of 21 home Tests until CWC 2023.
pales in comparison with their oldest rival in the format, England: that
country, by contrast, stages 30 home Tests in the period, a run that has
started already with the two-Test series against Pakistan very recently.
will host 26 home Tests, so both major rivals have substantially more five-day
fare to look forward to, on their preferred terrain, than the Proteas do.
feature of the away Test roster for South Africa in the FTP period is that they
will finally get to tour the Caribbean again - albeit just for two Test
matches - in 2020.
By the time
that comes along, it will have been an unusual 10 years since their last Test
tour of West Indies, a three-match one in 2010.
won 2-0, and unless Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn are still part of the Proteas'
mix, every other player selected is likely to be playing five-day fare on West
Indian soil for the first time.*Follow
our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing