February 6, 2014

South Africa hope to send a message

Graeme Smith is banking on his countrymen to come out and show they care more about Test cricket than was thought before
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The power of mass action is as much in its ability to change the world - consider the Arab Spring - as it is in its capacity to raise awareness. South African cricket is hoping for a healthy dose of the latter in the upcoming Test series against Australia.

In the wake of the ICC's proposed restructure, South Africa has a lot to prove. It will want to show that it is not a small cricket country, irrespective of what the financial figures say. It will want to show it is a place where cricket is important and respected, where it can and should be played regularly against top opposition. And it will need its fans to do the demonstrating.

Stadium attendances, although not the best yardstick for this purpose, are a barometer for measuring interest. That may be why on January 28, the same day as the ICC's quarterly board meeting at which the draft proposal was discussed, Graeme Smith tweeted, "I understand people back at work/school but really hope people turn out in droves and put their weight behind SA cricket next month!"

The post got 260 retweets and was favourited 94 times. He will need many more than that at SuperSport Park, St George's and Newlands for it to make any sort of impact, and he knows it. "I hope they want to come and support us," Smith said, when asked why he made that plea on social media. "There's been a fair amount of hype, especially after Australia's success against England. This series is important for different reasons. Hopefully fans would add a lot of value with their presence."

It does not take a codebreaker to figure out what Smith is hinting at. South Africans in their numbers can send messages that, even if they don't influence decisions made by the game's global governing body, can indicate the seriousness with which South Africans take Test cricket.

Thanks to the common sight of empty seats at Test grounds, the impression South Africans have created is that they don't value the longest format. But their appreciation, or perceived lack thereof, should not be taken at face value alone. Jacques Faul, the current Titans CEO, who was acting CSA CEO when the 2012 Boxing Day Test was cancelled in favour of a week of festive T20s against New Zealand, recalled the decision was met with surprising outrage. "I was getting hate mail," he said to ESPNcricinfo. "I didn't expect the backlash to be as big as it was."

Much the same happened this season, when the New Year's Test could not take place for reasons beyond South African cricket administrators' control. A severely shortened India tour made the fixture an impossibility. Suits at Newlands reacted with shock, especially because they lost all the matches they were due to host in that series. The players made their disappointment clear. Smith revealed disappointment at the loss of what he called a "marquee game" and the "centre point of the summer", and fans voiced their irritation on social media platforms.

"One of the challenges we've faced as a team is that we play so sporadically together. I feel, as a team the more we play together the better we get"
Graeme Smith

To make up for it, a "festival of cricket" was held in Cape Town. The event featured a few exhibition matches: one between the national cricket and rugby teams, one a north-south derby with a twist (players qualified for each region based on where they came from, not where they are currently based), and a triple-header featuring all six franchises to kick off the domestic 20-over competition.

The first day was a sell-out but crowds had dwindled by the time the official stuff started and bad weather rolled in. Some fans said it "just wasn't the same as a New Year's Test" when asked why they stayed away.

A disgruntled public spent January with only the domestic 20-over tournament for entertainment. As 2014 kicked off, the players also longed for whites. Smith has often lamented the team's lack regular Test cricket and this season gave him an opportunity to bemoan it once again. "One of the challenges we've faced as a team is that we play so sporadically together - we had a large winter period off, then two Tests against Pakistan, two Tests against India," he said. "I feel, as a team the more we play together the better we get."

Because their schedule does not flow smoothly, South Africa often enter series undercooked. In an attempt to change that, CSA tried to secure a one-off Test against Zimbabwe before the Australian series but their neighbours declined. Instead, South Africa had to schedule a match between a South African XI and a composite side of fringe players. The fixture is currently taking place at the Wanderers and features 22 cricketers who are all part of national plans.

It includes the entire Test squad bar AB de Villiers, who is still recovering from a hand injury; Quinton de Kock, who many members of the public were saying should be included in the squad; exciting left-arm seamer Beuran Hendricks; left-hand batsman Stiaan van Zyl; and offspinner Simon Harmer. Entrance was free but by lunchtime on day one there were two spectators in the ground.

The match was not advertised, so many would have been unaware they could watch a game at the Wanderers. Work and school commitments on a weekday would have kept others away. Still, it could be seen as confirmation of suspicions about South African attitudes towards cricket.

Of course, there will be more people once the Tests start, even though there are no public- or school holidays across the three matches. All three venues are doing what they can to draw crowds. SuperSport Park will have a traditional Ladies' Day, and for the first time, a Captain's Day for men. St George's always comes alive, with its band present. There is a feeling in Port Elizabeth that Test match culture is being revived again, after the venue hosted a Test last summer for the first time in six years. And the Newlands faithful, who will have their first (and last) Test of the summer, have already responded: the first three days of their match are almost sold out.

The more people pile in, the more it will be seen as a show of strength. And for them, it will be their last chance to watch big cricket for almost two years. South Africa's schedule from here on in is lean. After this series, in Test cricket they are due to tour Zimbabwe in July, and then host West Indies in the summer of 2014-15.

"West Indies are not a great crowd-puller, so next summer will be a tough one from an international perspective," Andre Odendaal, the Cobras CEO, said. Immediately after that series, South Africa will compete in the 2015 World Cup, and only in the following season will they host a team again: England are due to tour in 2015-16.

That's a long time from now and with the current discussions at ICC level, there's a strong chance things will change. The FTP may be different after this weekend, which could make the Australia series even more important, both in terms of its profile and because of the context in which it is being played. That leaves Smith and his men with a lot to think about; so much, in fact, that he wants them to shut it out as much as possible.

"There is so much happening around this stuff, we've got to focus on what we can control. We've had to deal with a fair amount of issues outside of our playing capabilities, and we've found ways to be successful despite that," Smith said. In the last four years, the administration in South Africa has been through a prolonged scandal over bonuses, which former CEO Gerald Majola was at the centre of, a politically infused argument over the India tour, and now the ICC discussions.

One of the outcomes is already known, in that the Test championship will not take place. It was an event Smith was keen on. "Hopefully in all this they can come up with something good," he said. Until then, all the South African team can do is, "trust the administration in making the decision in the best interest of the game" and "prove we are the No.1 team in the world and we deserve to be here".

In many ways, that says a lot about the South African frame of mind. Despite having been at the top of the rankings for 18 months, South Africa still feel they have to justify their position. Maybe that sentiment is prevalent because of the way they are being treated at higher levels. That could also be why Smith called on the crowds to back his boys. At least then they can feel like kings at home and the world can see it too.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • mzm149 on February 10, 2014, 10:03 GMT

    @Neel_123: Shifting IPL 2014 to South Africa or any other country will affect BCCI financially. Gate money will be much less as compared to if it was being played in India. Who will come to watch Indian players?

  • Neel_123 on February 7, 2014, 12:04 GMT

    @Philander50:

    Absence of overseas players (say SA, WI) might affect its viewership in SA or WI. But then IPL is not targeted at SA/WI. IPL ratings in countries other than India are INSIGNIFICANT anyway. Indian TV viewership and gate tickets is the main source of IPL revenues!

    If you still believe that Indians WANT to see Steyn or Amla, why was CSA in loss when SA played Pak? If Dale is 'attractive' to Indian viewer, should not CSA get similar deal from TV broadcasters as BCCI does? Please answer this if you could.

  • Beertjie on February 7, 2014, 9:19 GMT

    Since my retirement, I promise to do my bit. I'll be there come Wednesday but wearing the other team's hat! Thereafter I'll re-join the Newlands faithful (sadly not yet in March). Hats off (pun intended) to the Proteas - they are my second favourite team. Agree with your reasons, @Grant King. People don't always recognize these, but the committed, passionate and knowledgeable fans hail from the fairest Cape. @TommytuckerSaffa, I think you'll find that the turn-out for games involving England and Australia at St George's have been nowhere near acceptable, hence CSA have not scheduled regular tests there. @MrKricket, prices are a great deal better relative to our economy, so that is not the primary factor. People here are literally arm-chair watchers/critics who couldn't be bothered since we have free TV coverage. This is the real reason!

    To show strength SA - needs to host Test Matches in venues that naturally have strong attraction to larger crowds. Newlands and Port Elizabe

  • PrasPunter on February 7, 2014, 6:32 GMT

    @Critic7_mh , I dont think you got my point - I am an Aussie fan myself and my thought was directed towards Neel_123's comment about how india would thrive without international stars. I wouldn't comment on SA not winning trophies, but to me they are one of the best test teams in recent years . And I like teams that prioritize test cricket. Hence my wish to see SA/Aus/Eng playing a tri-series. Hope that clears the air !!

  • MrKricket on February 7, 2014, 0:30 GMT

    What are ticket prices like in SA? In Australia they are way over the top but still they fill the grounds for the Ashes. Not so many at other games though except maybe at the SCG and the first couple of days at the MCG. Empty stadiums send a message to the TV public. Better to fill the grounds with cheap tickets (or free after tea) than tell the world no one cares. TV rights pay for the game, who cares if they don't make a fortune from the gate takings?

  • philander50 on February 6, 2014, 20:30 GMT

    @Neel_123 - One of the major attractions in the IPL is it's overseas players, so by all means reduce the amount of overseas players and watch your ratings drop. Can I also ask why is it that you have such a large following of cricket and local clubs India and yet unable to produce a natural fast bowler, look at ind vs nz, its all i'm saying - Shami is a good bowler though.

  • philander50 on February 6, 2014, 20:23 GMT

    Critic7_mh@ south africa have never won the world cup but have won the champions trophy. "you never played against us you played against weaker teams and got to num 1" - we played against england at home and won for the second time in a row." if you are the best you should be good in all formats" - I think you'll find s.a at one stage after becoming no.1 in test then became no.1 in all formats and have been the only team to do so, although it was only for a short period. I could go on but i cant be arsed, so ill say this, do some research and then post on here because you really do look like an idiot.

  • ofthedeepbluesea on February 6, 2014, 18:45 GMT

    @GermanPlayer you seem to have your australia and south africa all mixed up... and for the record, south african have beaten australia both home (last two series pre-boycott) and in australia (last two series)

  • on February 6, 2014, 18:44 GMT

    @Critic7_mh: Haha, historical comment. Saf didnt lose any away series since 2006 and you say they only win at home? And who said saf is best in odis or best side ever in tests? saf is currently the best test team, thats the fact.

  • NoBull on February 6, 2014, 18:29 GMT

    It is a crying shame that SA cricket team does not get adequate support from their population, and are saddled with an incompetent and near bankrupt board to boot. Hoping things will turn around ...

  • mzm149 on February 10, 2014, 10:03 GMT

    @Neel_123: Shifting IPL 2014 to South Africa or any other country will affect BCCI financially. Gate money will be much less as compared to if it was being played in India. Who will come to watch Indian players?

  • Neel_123 on February 7, 2014, 12:04 GMT

    @Philander50:

    Absence of overseas players (say SA, WI) might affect its viewership in SA or WI. But then IPL is not targeted at SA/WI. IPL ratings in countries other than India are INSIGNIFICANT anyway. Indian TV viewership and gate tickets is the main source of IPL revenues!

    If you still believe that Indians WANT to see Steyn or Amla, why was CSA in loss when SA played Pak? If Dale is 'attractive' to Indian viewer, should not CSA get similar deal from TV broadcasters as BCCI does? Please answer this if you could.

  • Beertjie on February 7, 2014, 9:19 GMT

    Since my retirement, I promise to do my bit. I'll be there come Wednesday but wearing the other team's hat! Thereafter I'll re-join the Newlands faithful (sadly not yet in March). Hats off (pun intended) to the Proteas - they are my second favourite team. Agree with your reasons, @Grant King. People don't always recognize these, but the committed, passionate and knowledgeable fans hail from the fairest Cape. @TommytuckerSaffa, I think you'll find that the turn-out for games involving England and Australia at St George's have been nowhere near acceptable, hence CSA have not scheduled regular tests there. @MrKricket, prices are a great deal better relative to our economy, so that is not the primary factor. People here are literally arm-chair watchers/critics who couldn't be bothered since we have free TV coverage. This is the real reason!

    To show strength SA - needs to host Test Matches in venues that naturally have strong attraction to larger crowds. Newlands and Port Elizabe

  • PrasPunter on February 7, 2014, 6:32 GMT

    @Critic7_mh , I dont think you got my point - I am an Aussie fan myself and my thought was directed towards Neel_123's comment about how india would thrive without international stars. I wouldn't comment on SA not winning trophies, but to me they are one of the best test teams in recent years . And I like teams that prioritize test cricket. Hence my wish to see SA/Aus/Eng playing a tri-series. Hope that clears the air !!

  • MrKricket on February 7, 2014, 0:30 GMT

    What are ticket prices like in SA? In Australia they are way over the top but still they fill the grounds for the Ashes. Not so many at other games though except maybe at the SCG and the first couple of days at the MCG. Empty stadiums send a message to the TV public. Better to fill the grounds with cheap tickets (or free after tea) than tell the world no one cares. TV rights pay for the game, who cares if they don't make a fortune from the gate takings?

  • philander50 on February 6, 2014, 20:30 GMT

    @Neel_123 - One of the major attractions in the IPL is it's overseas players, so by all means reduce the amount of overseas players and watch your ratings drop. Can I also ask why is it that you have such a large following of cricket and local clubs India and yet unable to produce a natural fast bowler, look at ind vs nz, its all i'm saying - Shami is a good bowler though.

  • philander50 on February 6, 2014, 20:23 GMT

    Critic7_mh@ south africa have never won the world cup but have won the champions trophy. "you never played against us you played against weaker teams and got to num 1" - we played against england at home and won for the second time in a row." if you are the best you should be good in all formats" - I think you'll find s.a at one stage after becoming no.1 in test then became no.1 in all formats and have been the only team to do so, although it was only for a short period. I could go on but i cant be arsed, so ill say this, do some research and then post on here because you really do look like an idiot.

  • ofthedeepbluesea on February 6, 2014, 18:45 GMT

    @GermanPlayer you seem to have your australia and south africa all mixed up... and for the record, south african have beaten australia both home (last two series pre-boycott) and in australia (last two series)

  • on February 6, 2014, 18:44 GMT

    @Critic7_mh: Haha, historical comment. Saf didnt lose any away series since 2006 and you say they only win at home? And who said saf is best in odis or best side ever in tests? saf is currently the best test team, thats the fact.

  • NoBull on February 6, 2014, 18:29 GMT

    It is a crying shame that SA cricket team does not get adequate support from their population, and are saddled with an incompetent and near bankrupt board to boot. Hoping things will turn around ...

  • Critic7_mh on February 6, 2014, 17:09 GMT

    @PrasPunter,@papercutts223,, What do u mean by SA is a best Team along with ENG and AUSSIE?. If SA is No.1 at present, that doesnot mean that they are best. Tell me, which major competition does SA win, World Cup?, atleast Champions Trophy? Being Number one doesn't make u the best. you never played against us, you played against weak teams and got to num.1. never ever compare SA with AUS, we are the very best the game can have. In all formats. If you are the best, you should be good in all formats. After all cricket is cricket what ever the format is. you only win at home like india. but we win every where. you play us on moon, we'll beat u there!

  • cryptq1 on February 6, 2014, 16:49 GMT

    Can't blame anyone but the CSA for SA being in this position. They made provincial cricket unattractive to watch and thus lost their fan base. Once you've lost them they don't come back. First thing that needs to happen is to get people into CSA that actually care about cricket. You're not going to convince people to spend money at the gates when the best players aren't on the field, when you don't know what's going to be done with your money, when (in PE) supporting your team is pointless as the semi or final might be a 'home' game in East London, 360 km's away.

  • Critic7_mh on February 6, 2014, 16:46 GMT

    @PrasPunter, look, even now you depend on two of Big3(ENG/AUS), without them, if you play(PAK/SL/BAN), I bet you, even you won't watch them play. But We, Aussie are not like that, we the best, get the best out of any team, we play. This tour will make you money only because of us. If not we, your board may start begging like what smith did!

  • Neel_123 on February 6, 2014, 15:58 GMT

    It is so funny to see people talking about democracy and EQUALITY and uniform distribution of revenues to all members. Could any one please answer these simple questions ?

    1. WI, NZ, SL have population like 4-5 millions each. They have very few cricket stadium and professional cricketers to care of. India (or BCCI) has over 25+ cricket associations whose members (and geographical areas) are much greater than these countries combined. How is it fair that a young kid in India get 300 times LESS fund than a kid in NZ or WI from ICC? Never mind that India actually generate 70-80% of ICC revenue and demanding ONLY 20% (India alone has over 60% of the total population which follow cricket).

    2. You say, "But India earns from IPL", True. But then so are other nations by their other domestic sports.

    3. Assuming BCCI is forced to accept equal revenue and manage its BIGGER needs from domestic revenues, does it not make sense for INDIA to skip ICC altogether and focus on IPL, etc.??

  • dozydoc4630 on February 6, 2014, 14:20 GMT

    Well for all the outrage about not getting more tests etc, it is the South African public which is most to blame. There were about 500 people at best to say goodbye to one of the true legends of the game, Jacques Kallis when he played his last test in Durban. Contrast that to the 50000 who turned up to bid an emotional farewell to Sachin in Mumbai.

  • GermanPlayer on February 6, 2014, 13:08 GMT

    Considering the amount of home series Australia has recently lost to Australia and the fact that SA has never beaten Aus at home, these two teams perhaps provide the best competition in cricket. Why they never play more than 3 tests is beyond me.

  • on February 6, 2014, 11:58 GMT

    Cricket used to be so good before 2000 when no t20S used to be played. Test and Odis are still the best form of cricket. All of it is going to be ruined by money hungry administrators of India, Australia, and England. I am sorry for South Africa who is such a good team in all formats

  • PrasPunter on February 6, 2014, 11:43 GMT

    Eng played 3 against SA and Aus played 3 as well. But Eng plays not less than 4 with india ( this time it will be 5 !! ) and same case with Aus. (The Big three stuff ?? )

    I would rather have 4 for Eng Vs SA and SA Vs Aus.

  • HatsforBats on February 6, 2014, 10:22 GMT

    Not only are they the best test team, but they have some of the most magnificently beautiful grounds in the world. Why you wouldn't attend is beyond me. This test series (Aus vs SA) should be a firecracker with some of the best fast bowling to be witnessed this century. The fact that they play so few test matches is a blight on cricket administration in general; I will happily watch Aus lose a home series against the best team in the world.

  • muzika_tchaikovskogo on February 6, 2014, 9:49 GMT

    Its a shame that South Africa have been relegated to this position despite being the best side in the world. Its also a shame that a marquee series like this is just 3 tests long. It would have been so much better had it been a 4 or 5 test series. Sadly, none of the series between those two sides since SA's readmission has been longer than 3 tests.

  • PaperCuts223 on February 6, 2014, 9:20 GMT

    @ Praspunter, I Agree!!! :)

  • PrasPunter on February 6, 2014, 8:37 GMT

    @Neel_123 , we would love to see your board do that - that will end your board's domination for good measure. Go home and keep playing among yourselves. Leave the game behind. There are others who really care for it. World will be better off without your lot.

  • PrasPunter on February 6, 2014, 8:34 GMT

    @highveldhillbilly , you know what , I would love to see a SA/Aus/Eng test series as I have always considered them as the best of the lot that plays test-cricket. How about that for a competition and pulling crowds ?

  • PrasPunter on February 6, 2014, 8:32 GMT

    @TommyTuckerSaffa, well said Sir !! SA vs Aus has always been a marquee series with teams pulling up punches in equal measure. Come Feb 12, we will be in different camps though :-) Looking for a tough one. SA starts as favorites, but you never know.

  • Neel_123 on February 6, 2014, 8:09 GMT

    Good on CSA. Hope the crowd reaches in 3 figures!

    BCCI should go ahead with cutting out the meaningless touring and concentrate on domestic cricket. Millions of Indian fans are supporting you. Expand IPL to 3-4 months and matches should be exhibited in smaller towns not just in selected metros!

    Also limit the number of foreign players in IPL teams to only a maximum of 2 and that too only from 'friendly' nations. No point in investing millions in foreign players & boards who back-stab India at first chance.

  • highveldhillbilly on February 6, 2014, 7:55 GMT

    Agree with most of the comments here. Cricket is only the 3rd most popular sport in SA, a long, long way behind rugby and foot ball. Cricket should do everything to increase the popularity of the sport but CSA seems to do the opposite to garner a greater following. At the end of the day, like in rugby, for most South Africans the series that really matter are series against Aus and the Poms the old enemy. Personally I love all competitive cricket but for the majority of fair weather cricket fans it only really matter how well we do against these two teams and in a WC.

  • TommytuckerSaffa on February 6, 2014, 7:20 GMT

    Firstly, India might be biggest revenue earner in cricket but its not the biggest South African crowd puller. Since my childhood, an on-coming India tour was never greeted with any enthusiasm or excitement because they historically never posed a challenge. Teams to beat that are etched in the minds of South Africans are Australia - being the best and England - being the old colonial masters.

    To show strength SA - needs to host Test Matches in venues that naturally have strong attraction to larger crowds. Newlands and Port Elizabeth come to mind. Playing against Australia is always a draw card, these grounds will be near capacity.

  • rickyvoncanterbury on February 6, 2014, 7:13 GMT

    @Grant it does sound like you have a busy life and the economical situation does not sound great, but all I was saying is that if they cannot get big crowds to see the best team in the world up against an old foe in Australia that test cricket is in trouble in SA.

  • Amit_13 on February 6, 2014, 7:00 GMT

    It's a shame that they are having to prove it over and over again. The FTP should have granted an arbitrary number of extra tests per year to the number 1 team.

  • IndianEagle on February 6, 2014, 6:54 GMT

    test cricket has no scoreboard pressure, captains firstly looking for draw, even they dont try to win initially. No need to play great delivery then how peple luv test?

  • on February 6, 2014, 6:43 GMT

    rickyvoncanterbury we have families to work for. mouths to feed. We cannot go to games during the week. Saturdays is club cricket day. So only Sunday will be open. That's day 4 if the game starts on a Thursday. Everything is expensive. petrol just increased again. so everything will go up again. Unemployment is at an all time high. Its not just about going to games. Responsibilities are much more important than a test match.

  • Mitty2 on February 6, 2014, 6:32 GMT

    What rickyvoncanterburysaid. Sure fine if we lost the Ashes - then our form would be dreadful and attendance would understandably be lower. But we did not, we won 5-0 and in our last 13 international matches we've had just one loss, with no draw. This on top of us talking ourselves up and having digs at the SA players (the Warner one to Philander was a classic). SA have not lost a series since god knows when. If you can't get big crowds here, good luck for other series.

  • rickyvoncanterbury on February 6, 2014, 5:50 GMT

    As an Aussie I think The result will not matter, if they cannot get a big crowd to see Steyn v Harris, Philander v Johnson, Morkel v Siddle, Amla v Clarke, Smith v Warner, Faf v Watson and Duminy v Haddin, you will never get them there.

  • Udendra on February 6, 2014, 4:09 GMT

    I sincerely hope that Australia get thrashed in SA. So much for the "position paper"!

  • Mob_King on February 6, 2014, 3:26 GMT

    Solidarity from NZ. Would be great to see SA standing up and crushing Oz while NZ rolls India in NZ.

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  • Mob_King on February 6, 2014, 3:26 GMT

    Solidarity from NZ. Would be great to see SA standing up and crushing Oz while NZ rolls India in NZ.

  • Udendra on February 6, 2014, 4:09 GMT

    I sincerely hope that Australia get thrashed in SA. So much for the "position paper"!

  • rickyvoncanterbury on February 6, 2014, 5:50 GMT

    As an Aussie I think The result will not matter, if they cannot get a big crowd to see Steyn v Harris, Philander v Johnson, Morkel v Siddle, Amla v Clarke, Smith v Warner, Faf v Watson and Duminy v Haddin, you will never get them there.

  • Mitty2 on February 6, 2014, 6:32 GMT

    What rickyvoncanterburysaid. Sure fine if we lost the Ashes - then our form would be dreadful and attendance would understandably be lower. But we did not, we won 5-0 and in our last 13 international matches we've had just one loss, with no draw. This on top of us talking ourselves up and having digs at the SA players (the Warner one to Philander was a classic). SA have not lost a series since god knows when. If you can't get big crowds here, good luck for other series.

  • on February 6, 2014, 6:43 GMT

    rickyvoncanterbury we have families to work for. mouths to feed. We cannot go to games during the week. Saturdays is club cricket day. So only Sunday will be open. That's day 4 if the game starts on a Thursday. Everything is expensive. petrol just increased again. so everything will go up again. Unemployment is at an all time high. Its not just about going to games. Responsibilities are much more important than a test match.

  • IndianEagle on February 6, 2014, 6:54 GMT

    test cricket has no scoreboard pressure, captains firstly looking for draw, even they dont try to win initially. No need to play great delivery then how peple luv test?

  • Amit_13 on February 6, 2014, 7:00 GMT

    It's a shame that they are having to prove it over and over again. The FTP should have granted an arbitrary number of extra tests per year to the number 1 team.

  • rickyvoncanterbury on February 6, 2014, 7:13 GMT

    @Grant it does sound like you have a busy life and the economical situation does not sound great, but all I was saying is that if they cannot get big crowds to see the best team in the world up against an old foe in Australia that test cricket is in trouble in SA.

  • TommytuckerSaffa on February 6, 2014, 7:20 GMT

    Firstly, India might be biggest revenue earner in cricket but its not the biggest South African crowd puller. Since my childhood, an on-coming India tour was never greeted with any enthusiasm or excitement because they historically never posed a challenge. Teams to beat that are etched in the minds of South Africans are Australia - being the best and England - being the old colonial masters.

    To show strength SA - needs to host Test Matches in venues that naturally have strong attraction to larger crowds. Newlands and Port Elizabeth come to mind. Playing against Australia is always a draw card, these grounds will be near capacity.

  • highveldhillbilly on February 6, 2014, 7:55 GMT

    Agree with most of the comments here. Cricket is only the 3rd most popular sport in SA, a long, long way behind rugby and foot ball. Cricket should do everything to increase the popularity of the sport but CSA seems to do the opposite to garner a greater following. At the end of the day, like in rugby, for most South Africans the series that really matter are series against Aus and the Poms the old enemy. Personally I love all competitive cricket but for the majority of fair weather cricket fans it only really matter how well we do against these two teams and in a WC.