South Africa’s players remain opposed to Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) initiative to herald the first four-day Test format against Zimbabwe on Boxing Day.
CSA had announced plans for the first-over four day Test pending approval of the ICC against Zimbabwe but it seems that the board has bypassed consulting with its own players before going ahead with the decision.
It was originally India who were expected to be the opponents for the traditional Boxing Day Test but the BCCI’s addition of a last-minute series with Sri Lanka has delayed India’s arrival in South Africa to December 28.
The four-day Test against Zimbabwe, the first of its kind, was proposed by then CSA chief Haroon Lorgat to fill the void created by India. Lorgat had announced his resignation from the role a few days back in a move many expected to happen.
The Proteas are currently involved in a Test series against the visiting Bangladesh and some of the players have come out strongly against the proposed four-day match.
South Africa opener Dean Elgar, who recently scored 199 in the hosts’ 333-run win in the first Test, voiced his staunch opposition to the idea
“I’m a five-day specialist and Test cricket must stay that way, they mustn’t tinker with something that’s not broken. The other formats have been experimented with and now it looks like Test cricket will be the scapegoat. It should not be allowed to suffer.
“That’s the duration of the game and we should not start disrespecting it, and Test cricket should also only be played with the red ball. I know people will point to the size of the crowds, but that’s all about who you’re playing against, that’s what it boils down to. And you need the big names to attract people. “I believe Test cricket is the wrong format to interfere with, they should keep it as it is because it’s not broken,” Elgar said.
Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis echoed the sentiments of Elgar on being asked on his thoughts on the four-day format.
“Having four-day Tests would be tricky, I’m a fan of five-day Tests. The great Tests are the ones that finish in the last hour of the fifth day, that’s what makes the format so special. If there’s a fifth day, you have to really graft, the bowlers have a lot more work and the batsmen have to graft for longer.
“It’s been proved over and over again that day five is needed, but I guess four-day Tests might lead to more creative, aggressive captaincy. But Test cricket is about how long you can go for and how long your skill sets can last. There are also workload issues because there would be more overs in a day and more use of seamers. The players are all used to five-day Tests,” Du Plessis told reporters.
The CSA’s proposal for official status for the four-day day/night at Port Elizabeth will be put before the International Cricket Council in their board meeting at Auckland next week.
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