Graeme Smith urges end to two-Test series
Graeme Smith, South Africa's Test captain, has asked for an end to two-Test series and urged Cricket South Africa (CSA) to schedule more matches for the national side. According to Smith, a Test series of at least three matches motivated players more, although he admitted they had little say in the matter.
"When it is at least a three-Test series, it has a little more definition in your own mind," Smith told Sport 24. "Ultimately it is up to the ICC, as the main stakeholders, to lead the game forward. As players, we are totally reliant on them. We have no decision-making in these things and we would love to see them putting the game in good light, leading us forward into a good space."
Smith had voiced a similar view during South Africa's recent tour to the United Arab Emirates, where the side played a two-Test series against Pakistan. "I don't really know why we come here and only play two Tests, its neither here nor there," he had said. "We would like a longer series but obviously we are not in control of that."
South Africa's next series against India also comprises two Tests, in Johannesburg and Durban. Smith said he preferred longer series because the team thrived under the challenge of playing as the No. 1 ranked side in the world.
"I can't see how, as the No 1-ranked side, the world wouldn't want to see us playing as much as possible, and we want to be involved in big series," Smith said. "That's how we got to No 1: beating England in England and Australia in Australia. Those are the type of series we seem to thrive on. The more of those, the better for us."
Prior to the UAE tour in October, South Africa had played only five Tests in 2013, the last one against Pakistan in February. Smith said that the long gaps between Tests were difficult for the side, and he hoped CSA would take note while scheduling series.
"It is certainly hugely challenging. It was one of my worries going to Abu Dhabi after some six months away (from the format)," he said. "It's hard to recreate in such a short period of time; you could see the huge difference in us from the first Test against Pakistan to the second, performance-wise and, even slightly, in terms of attitude and commitment to our skills.
"Hopefully CSA in particular can [address the situation]. I do understand that in World Cup lead-up periods it's always tough; the World Cup will take up quite a large space in 2015. But CSA also has a massive asset in the Test team, and hopefully we'll be back playing more, rather than not playing (enough)."