Future Tours Programme

South Africa secure festive Test deal

Firdose Moonda

November 4, 2010

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South Africa will not take part in a full Test tour of Australia until at least 2021 because the two boards have clashed over the rights to host the traditional Boxing Day and New Year Tests. Both countries are now guaranteed to host their lucrative home Test matches over the festive period for the next ten seasons.

Previously, South Africa played Australia away every four years during December and January. "That was a contract that was drawn up before my time," Gerald Majola, chief executive of CSA said at the CSA road show at the Wanderers on Thursday. "According to that agreement, we have always toured Australia over the festive season. When the 2012-2020 FTP was being discussed we brought forward a proposal that we would play them once in Australia and once at home. They didn't accept our proposal."

Majola explained that Australia used the home Tests as tourist draw cards because of the holiday season and he even though he "understood" that reason, he decided CSA would be bullish as well. "We thought if they don't want to tour here, we will also say we don't want to tour there during that time so we can host our own Tests."

In 2008, when South Africa last toured Australia, CSA announced that the national team would not tour Down Under over the festive period again because of Australia's refusal to give up their monopoly on Test matches during that time. South Africa went on to win the three-Test series 2-1.

Following a breakdown in discussions over tours over the holiday period, CSA managed to convince the International Cricket Council that, like Australia, it should host Test matches over the festive season every season from 2012 to 2020. In addition, neither South Africa nor Australia will host each other in that time. That means that Australia's visit to South Africa next year will be their last full tour until at least 2021. They are scheduled to play three Tests and five ODIs in September and October 2011.

Majola added, however, that by avoiding each other during the festive season, the two teams would meet more frequently as a consequence. "We will play Australia every year from now until 2020 but not for a full tour," Majola said. "Once a year we will either play them in Tests or in one-day internationals but not both at the same time."

South Africa are scheduled to host India this season and Sri Lanka in December 2011, with CSA keen to emulate the Australian model of creating tourist activities around the traditional Boxing Day and New Year's Tests in Melbourne and Sydney respectively. In South Africa, the coastal cities of Durban and Cape Town have most often hosted the two, festive matches but Majola said that at least one of those venues may change.

"Durban is still in question," he said. "We have not had very good crowds there and we've tried Port Elizabeth as an alternative. We'll have to see how Durban responds in the future before we decide what to do. Cape Town always had good crowds, so the New Year's Test will be held there unless something drastic happens."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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