Are ICC officials putting the bottom line ahead of a classic grudge Test series?

2011-10-26 00:00

THE much anticipated series between Australia and South Africa, two of the most competitive sides in world cricket, is proving to be more of a taster than anything to sink our teeth into.

Already two T20s are out of the way and Friday’s day-night game at Kingsmead will be the final match of the one-day series.

With the first ODI at Centurion decided by the Duckworth Lewis method, both teams have had little time to find their rhythm.

In terms of a competitive series you don’t get better than Australia versus South Africa.

It’s the grudge contest that everyone wants to see.

To have just three one-day matches and a mere two Tests between these great rivals is a real let-down.

For some time the long-term future of Test cricket has been uncertain. There have been concerns that the increasing popularity of T20 and the one-day format is killing Test cricket. In response the International Cricket Council (ICC) admitted that they were contemplating a timeless Test between the top two Test teams in an effort to rekindle interest in the longer form of the game. As it turned this wasn’t necessary.

In 2010/2011, Test cricket reaffirmed its status as the ultimate contest thanks to some superb series. We witnessed incredible cricket, including final-day thrillers in the (five test) Ashes series in Australia and England.

India were competitive in the series in South Africa and Sri Lanka put up a good fight in the first Test match of their series against England this summer.

South Africa were due to play three Test matches against Australia on this tour but the third was scratched off the itinerary and replaced with an extra game of “hit and giggle”.

Just what message is the ICC sending? In a recent interview English Test captain Andrew Strauss expressed his concern that the “powers that be” are putting their coffers ahead of Test cricket.

He’s right to be worried and the ICC need to do something about it smartly.

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