Proteas

Waugh: AB's Test absence can hurt cricket

Steve Waugh (Getty Images)
Steve Waugh (Getty Images)

Monaco - Former Australian captain Steve Waugh says it's disappointing that AB de Villiers has decided to play less Test cricket.

De Villiers ruled himself out of the upcoming tour to New Zealand as well as the mid-year Test series in England, saying he needs to manage his work load to ensure that he makes the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

It is obviously a major blow to South Africa's ambitions to become the No 1 Test side in the world once more, and while Waugh understands the decision, he would still rather see one of the game's major talents playing the longer format.

"It's disappointing to hear that. AB de Villiers is a great player and a lot of kids look up to him," Waugh told Sport24 in Monaco ahead of the Laureus World Sports Awards on Tuesday.

"You want him playing Test cricket. If he doesn't play Test cricket then other players will take that lead and then all of a sudden you get a diluted Test cricket championship which will be damaging to the game in the long run.

"I'd like to see him (De Villiers) have his priorities in Test cricket but, then again, he's got a family to look after and I guess he's at the back end of his career."

South Africa is the latest country to launch a global T20 league and there are plans for it the tournament to attract big money and big players when it is launched later this year.

These domestic T20 leagues, Waugh says, have become a vital part of the game.

"Financially, every country probably does (need an international T20 league). It makes a lot of money," Waugh said.

"The crowds seem to enjoy it, the players love it and you get the best players coming to play in your country.

"The Big Bash has just really been incredible in Australia and it gets bigger every year."

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