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March 11, 2014
Australia and South Africa are in talks to expand the size of their future Test series meetings from three matches to four, following the dramatic and high quality series completed at Newlands last week.
As part of the range of FTP agreements being negotiated between ICC Full Member nations following the approval of a series of resolutions that will bring fundamental changes to the way the game is run, Cricket Australia's chairman Wally Edwards said there was a desire to recognise highly competitive match-ups by playing them over a longer duration.
Australia's 2-1 victory remained in doubt until the final half-hour of the series following an encounter of many fluctuations. Edwards is strong in his desire to see such contests become more frequent in world cricket, not only among the presently strong nations but also those looking to improve.
"We're talking to them at the moment about more," Edwards told ESPNcricinfo during the Cape Town Test, during discussions with Cricket South Africa. "They deserve more, and you've got to recognise the quality of the cricket I think. I think it's not a bad stepping stone to have recognised quality by another Test or two. That principle might come out."
Australia and South Africa have played Test series of three matches in every meeting but one since the latter's readmission to international cricket in 1992. The previous series in South Africa in 2011 was shortened to two matches, a decision CA expressed some disappointment about at the time.
Under the commitments made by Australia and England to play each of the top eight nations at home and away over an eight-year period, the boards will also work to find additional windows for fixtures against lower-ranked nations, which had been increasingly marginalised in recent years.
Edwards acknowledged that Australia may consequently return to the scheduling of international matches in the Northern Territory and Queensland during the winter months in order to better accommodate their new obligations.
"Half the challenge is fitting this in," Edwards said. "But Test series have been getting quicker, more compressed because that's life. It's the way the world is, faster, closer and quicker. I think you always want a warm-up game or two, because one might be washed out, that's why you'd want two. [But] this has been a very good series."
It is also believed that South Africa's future series with India may also be played over four Tests, rather than the two their most recent encounter was shrunk down to following a period of considerable doubt about the BCCI consenting to tour at all.
That stand-off was emblematic of the troubles Edwards had witnessed at the ICC since his arrival on the executive board as a reform-minded CA chairman in 2012.
He has spoken to ESPNcricinfo about the pathway from the rejection of the Woolf Report to the current resolutions, and about the difficulty of achieving meaningful change at the ICC following his successful campaign to streamline Australian cricket's governance and add independent voices to the CA board table.
The full interview will be published later this week.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets hereFeeds: Daniel Brettig
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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