Steve Waugh wants ICC intervention regarding Test squad selections
MELBOURNE, Australia (CMC) — Australian Test legend Steve Waugh has urged the intervention of cricket’s world governing body, International Cricket Council (ICC), in salvaging the credibility of the game’s longest format, after South Africa followed West Indies’ lead in selecting an understrength Test side for the two-Test tour of New Zealand.
Only last month, West Indies named seven uncapped players in a weakened 15-man squad for two Tests here later this month, and South Africa followed suit by picking an inexperienced squad — also featuring seven debutants — for their two-Test series in New Zealand next month.
The New Zealand tour has clashed with the SA20 — Cricket South Africa’s lucrative, premier, T20 domestic tournament — and the leading players have been allowed to focus their efforts on the shorter format.
“It’s going to happen if the South African Cricket Board are any indication of the future, keeping their best players at home,” Waugh said.
“If I was New Zealand I wouldn’t even play the series. I don’t know why they’re even playing. Why would you when it shows a lack of respect for New Zealand cricket?
“It’s pretty obvious what the problem is — the West Indies aren’t sending their full-strength side [to Australia this summer]. They haven’t picked a full-strength Test team for a couple of years now.
“Someone like Nicholas Pooran is really a Test batsman who doesn’t play Test cricket. Jason Holder, probably their best player, is not playing now. Even Pakistan didn’t send a full side [to Australia].”
Holder, the Caribbean side’s leading all-rounder, skipped the Australia tour along with batting all-rounder Kyle Mayers, with Cricket West Indies saying both players had “expressed a preference to explore T20 franchise opportunities in January.”
In the past, West Indies have also found Test selection hampered due to the unavailability of key players, owing to their focus on T20 franchise leagues.
While acknowledging there is little financial incentive for smaller nations to play Test cricket, Waugh called for a standardised fee to be implemented by the ICC.
“If the ICC or someone doesn’t step in shortly then Test cricket doesn’t become Test cricket because you’re not testing yourself against the best players,” he said.
“I understand why players don’t come; they’re not getting paid properly. I don’t understand why ICC or the top countries who are making a lot of money don’t just have a regulation set fee for Test matches which is a premium so [that] people are incentivised to play Test Cricket. Otherwise, they’ll just play T10 or T20.
“The public are the ones who are going to suffer because it’s not the full side playing so it’s not Test cricket.”
A plethora of T20 franchise leagues have emerged in recent years, with many spanning the start of the year.
The SA20 runs from January 10 to February 10; the ILT20 in United Arab Emirates runs from January 19 to February 17; while the ongoing Australian Big Bash, which got underway December 7, goes until January 24.