SA players' association backs BCCI's Test request

SA players' association backs BCCI's Test request

SACA chief executive Tony Irish said the players would be happy to play more Tests instead of ODIs when they tour India in February-March 2010.

“We as players are actually in favour of that. We would prefer to go there (India) and play two Tests and three one-dayers rather than playing five-ODI series,” Irish said.
He said BCCI’s last-minute request — having realised that just two Tests in the next 11 months would not be enough to protect the team’s number one status — was not “ideal” but felt it was necessary to “compromise” for the betterment of Test cricket.
“It is not ideal. But there has to be a set of compromises and we are making some now in order to play Test cricket,” the SACA CEO told a website.

South Africa would not complain playing more Tests as they are scheduled to play only five in 2010 as compared to the six in 2009. “We believe that it is vital to play as much Test cricket as possible because the players believe it is the pinnacle of cricket,” Irish said.

“Firstly we played so little Test cricket this year so we are keen to play (more) Test matches. Then we also want to play because India are No. 1 and we are No. 2. It is also good for Test cricket as this shows support for the longer version,” said Irish.
The players, however, want the two boards chalk out right dates if the two Tests are to be squeezed in as they do not want to miss out on playing the Pro20, South Africa’s domestic Twenty20 competition.

“One of the downsides is that our national players might miss the semifinals and the finals of the Pro20 domestic competition. If that can be accommodated that will be good,” said Irish.
The first round of Standard Bank Pro20 semifinals are due to start on February 24, with the second round beginning on March 3 and the final on March 12, so Cricket South Africa is trying to push back those dates by at least a week to accommodate the BCCI request.

Meanwhile, Irish said the proposal to reduce the number of international Test matches would be an unfair move towards smaller nations, who are also involved in the process.

“The rich will get richer and the poor poorer,” Irish told the Afrikaans daily Beeld.
Commentators here were of the view that if the ICC supported ideas, such as that of BCCI to abandon Test cricket on home turf, the other top three countries might also initiate the same move to play less cricket against the smaller nations, reasoning out non-profitability.