South Africa news November 26, 2013

Graeme Smith urges end to two-Test series

ESPNcricinfo staff

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)."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dinesh on November 28, 2013, 4:26 GMT

    Smith, whatever you said is perfect for an ideal world, but not feasible in practical. You know upto around 20-30 years back players were used to get paid pittance and had least backroom staff a coach, a manager and a doctor at the most. Now there are coach, batting coach, bowling coach, fielding coach, and in cases like Eng, who carry around 100 men staff along with test squad. And they all need to get paid and paid well. Then there is small matter of paying to players as well and we want them to be get paid well too. From where this money will come if match is not being watched on TV and in stadium? Well, we can have a work around. Top 4 teams (revenue, not ranking) should play min of 4 tests with each other. Ind-Eng-Aus do that already bar a few exceptions and Ashes is 5 matches. Need to add SA to that club. And then ensure that SL-Pak get 3 tests each when they play against any of these sides. And 2 tests series can be limited to WI-NZ-Ban, no disrespect to them, but once ...contd

  • Mohsin on November 27, 2013, 22:45 GMT

    In matters of money, common sense and opinion of majority takes a backseat. At least it is the case with BCCI. I dont think Indian players have a say in FTP scheduling nor do i think they are inclined towards Test cricket now. In Ganguly era, we had 4 test series in England & Aus and 3 test series in SA although we had mid-table Test ranking. But the Fab 4 were determined to win Test match/series abroad n cherished them more than anything else. But since the IPL-derived money got into the coffers n head of BCCI officials/players, we no more hear indian players say that Test cricket is the ultimate form of cricket & needs to be preserved

  • Nanda Kumar on November 27, 2013, 9:30 GMT

    contd... if the ICC has indicated that a minimum of 3 tests is required for a series then teams would have complied. Australia have played atleast 13 tests this year ( 4 against India and 9 against England and I am sure they must have played a few in Jan and Feb prior to the India tour.). England also play close to 12 tests in a year as does India. So CSA needs to introspect... My suggestion is that matches amongst the top 4 teams must be a minimum of 4 tests, between the top 6 team a minimum of 3 tests and for other teams 2 tests... ICC and all the Boards need to be smart and wake up and smell the coffee.

  • Nanda Kumar on November 27, 2013, 9:26 GMT

    All cricket lovers will want atleast 3 tests series and if it is between the top 4 teams then a 5 test series. No questions. However some of these valid questions need to be raised by Smith with CSA. They just do not seem to be too interested with test cricket. Does any one remember when they last played a 5 test series , home of away with any country. Even the original schedule with India did not suggest 5 tests but 3 tests and 7 ODI's. If the top 2 teams do not play 5 tests then who will. It is another matter that BCCI did not agree to play the 3 rd test sighting contractual issues. Which to me is all hog wash. Can the Indian cricket team not play without sponsors for 1 test. Any way most teams play atleast 10 tests a year , so if SA after being No 1 do not play atleast 10 then it seems to be that CSA is not very kicked about it. BTW, the reason why teams play 2 tests is because ICC has rather stupidly indicated that a minimum of 2 tests is needed for a series. contd...

  • Stefan on November 27, 2013, 9:23 GMT

    @ bizman

    I'm against the 2-match series also and prefer the longer versions of series for obvious reasons to anyone who likes good cricket. Though to choose who the lesser teams are and assign them a 2-match series would likewise be unfair in determining objectively who the lesser teams are on a continual basis, given that tours are scheduled some years in advance. Also location plays a fair part in deciding which teams are lesser than which. Played in October in Delhi, Ahmadabad, and Kanpur dust bowls and one would fancy India to beat anyone bar Pak or SL 2-0 or 3-0 depending. Though put India on Jamaica, Barbados and Antigua green tops a month later, or say England in Colombo, then the "lesser" teams would fancy their chances.

    Ironically if the Ashes was a 2-match series then Cricket Australia wouldn't have to worry about Broad being tackled on Boxing day as the series would already be done by then. I'd say 3-match series across the board regardless of teams.

  • Dummy4 on November 27, 2013, 7:25 GMT

    in the same tone as used by W G Grace for his batting ;-)

    give the mace to the Indians 'cause all the boards want to see them play... does justice to your statements Grame ;-)

  • vinoop on November 27, 2013, 7:08 GMT


    BCCI planned WI tour because the SA tour was on hold because of the spat with Lorgan. THey didn't plan this or sachin.Only after the tour was finalized Sachin announced his retirement. Just know something about cricket before making comments. Its sad that everyone like this can express opinions in public websites.

  • Nick on November 27, 2013, 6:20 GMT

    @ landofcricket

    (One of) the problems also lies with India feelining they hold the cricketing world in the palms of their hands. CSA pushed for more tests but India refused. They wanted a short series and even demanded they NOT deal with the CSA president and he stand down from negotiations before they would continue. Who do they think they are? They had committed to a series here, and then dictated how we should run the series.

    And Test cricket is still the most thrilling. The sense that ANYTHING could happen keeps fans in suspense. IT IS NOT A DEAD / DYING form

  • Lourens on November 27, 2013, 6:12 GMT

    They don't want Kallis to score more test runs than Tendulkar, which WILL happen if SA plays a fair number of games! Go Kallis!!!