SA20 is for just four weeks and you can still play Test cricket: Graeme Smith | Cricket News

NEW DELHI: Former skipper Graeme Smith expressed confidence on South African Test cricket‘s ability to thrive alongside the SA20, emphasizing on the fact that the lucrative league takes place in a tight four-week window and the red-ball format can flourish for the remainder of the year.
There was high drama after Cricket South Africa recently announced a second-string Test team under uncapped Neil Brand for Test series in New Zealand. The series coincides with the second edition of the SA20, where all six franchises are managed by IPL team owners.
Can SA20 and South Africa’s Test team co-exist?
“SA 20 is four weeks a year which we operate on and obviously one or two challenges happen and that’s not ideal, that should get better and better every season,” Smith, the commissioner of SA20 league, told PTI in an exclusive interaction.
The CSA has a 51 percent share in the league and the broadcast money is important for its financial health.
“South African cricket has made commitment that SA20 is a big part of its future and gives it a best chance to succeed. I believe it’s just four weeks a year and there would be lot of chance to play Test cricket,” Smith, without getting into the latest controversy raging the country’s cricket, made himself clear as to how he perceived the situation.
However, he agreed that the ODI format’s future is at stake.
“There are two more World Cups that have been sold to broadcasters and one in SA in 2027 and 2031 is back in India. Even in between the cycle, ODI cricket is going to find itself in challenging space,” Smith admitted.
“One format that is falling into category where people are less interested and patches of game which are going to be slow. Test cricket is always going to be enthralling and we know how much T20 they enjoy and the success it has commercially gained.
“So I believe between World Cups you will see ODIs getting lesser and lesser. That’s my feeling,” the man with 7000 plus Test runs gave his take.
Test cricket will be played by limited nations
The 42-year-old, with 100 plus Tests in his playing days, wants the traditional format’s sanctity to be protected but, for all practical purposes, only few will thrive in that format.
“From Test cricket’s perspective, Test cricket is never going to be more than a 6, 7 or 8 nations format. When I was a part of last MCC Cricket Committee we had agreed that we needed measures to protect Test cricket.”
Smith agreed that the LA28 Olympics will give T20 a shot in the arm.
“T20 cricket gives you an opportunity to grow into other nations. You look at LA 2028 Olympics and look at franchise cricket how it’s grown and it can attract people around the world.
“For me, I always love Test cricket, the format, what we achieved in my time, my record. I would love to see it being protected.”
Process of talent hunt will change
Smith believes that a youngster who has grown in the age of T20 cricket might find it difficult to convince himself about the career calls that he has to take.
“If I try to put myself in a position of 22 to 23-year old because they are brought up in a way which is very different to how we were brought up.
“I am 42 myself and we were lot more traditional back in the day. This generation is much more exposed and it’s difficult to say how they would view it. It’s always going to be balancing act.”
“The old traditional methods of trying to find players is going to change. They will be exposed to T20 leagues now and if they are good enough they will be exposed to ODI and Test cricket.”
Don’t want players to get caps on leagues
Smith is not in favour of setting a cap on how many leagues a player should play.
“I am not in favour of that. Every nation should get an opportunity to build their own platform. It took South Africa a while to get it right, to attract right partners to build a product,” he said.
For him SA20 will only make South Africa’s T20 team stronger.
“SA20 is a bridge between where our domestic cricket is and our international format currently is.
“Putting our players exposed to pressure which they can only get in international cricket with full house, that bridge that keeps our SA national team stronger,” he signed off.
(With inputs from PTI)

Leave a Comment