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Four-Test rubbers for SA in next FTP cycle

Firdose Moonda

July 8, 2014

Comments: 24 | Text size: A | A

Graeme Smith steps out for his final Test, South Africa v Australia, 3rd Test, Cape Town, 4th day, March 4, 2014
South Africa could be stepping out in whites more often as per the new FTP cycle © Getty Images
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Despite not getting a seat on any of the ICC sub-committees at the organisation's revamp at their annual conference in Melbourne ten days ago, South Africa could make some gains according to the latest version of the 2015-2023 FTP which has been seen by ESPNcricinfo. The draft schedule has four-Test series planned against India, Australia and England, both home and away, which will raise the South Africa's cricketing and monetary profile.

Although South Africa were ranked the No.1 Test side in the world between August 2012 and March 2014, they have been subjected to a lean schedule recently which has been a source of frustration for everyone from former captain Graeme Smith to the fans. Three of South Africa's last five Test series have see just two Tests each and their last four-Test series was when they hosted England in 2009/10.

The draft has South Africa pencilled in to play four-Test series every season from 2015/16 to 2022/23. It also includes a five-Test series against England, in early 2020. There is also a four-Test series scheduled against West Indies in 2020 and one against Sri Lanka at home in February/March 2021.

South Africa's possible four-Test series

  • v India away October/November 2015
  • v England at home December/January 2015/16
  • v Australia away October/November 2016
  • v England away 2017
  • v India home January/February 2018
  • v Australia home February/March 2018
  • v India away October/November 2019
  • v England home January/February 2020 (FIVE TESTS)
  • v West Indies, June-July 2020
  • v Australia away November/December 2020
  • v Sri Lanka home February/March 2021
  • v England away July 2021
  • v India home February/March 2022

Apart from the increased number of matches, South Africa will also gain financially from the proposed new FTP. Like the other members of the small seven, CSA only make money when hosting one of India, England or Australia and the more fixtures they have against them, the healthier their bank balance will look. As proof of that, consider that it is estimated that CSA missed out on an approximately R318 million (US$31.8 million) when India's visit last summer was cut from three Tests, seven ODIs and two T20s to two Tests and three ODIs.

Zimbabwe are the other nation who have recently shown how great their dependence on India is. With their administration lurching from one financial crisis to the next, they have had to postpone international series, including one against Sri Lanka last year because they could not afford hosting costs. Only a five ODI visit from India last July provided ZC with the cash flow they needed to pay player salaries and host Pakistan later in the year.

There is good news for them too in the latest draft FTP. Zimbabwe's Test schedule will see them play three Test series against Bangladesh in the next two years, host India for a Test and three ODIs in June 2016 and visit India for the same number of matches in February/March 2019. While Australia are also due to tour Zimbabwe, in June/July 2018 for two Tests and three ODIs, there are no visits either to or from England, in keeping with the political standoff between the two nations.

Member nations have been told to sign their bilateral agreements by the next ICC Board meeting in October in order to firmly establish that FTP is both "binding and bankable".

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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Posted by McGorium on (July 9, 2014, 15:12 GMT)

@ fairplay_cricket_fan: I thought we were talking about test cricket. I'm talking about a kind of game that is irresistible to watch. Pakistan of Wasim, Imran, and Waqar played attractive test cricket. Does Pak of today have nearly the same aura? SRL is not what it was with Murali, Vaas played; I might revisit that opinion if they can reproduce their recent English success elsewhere. WI? Same thing. Anyway, the boards are trying to maximize revenue; as long as advertisers keep paying, they'll keep playing. The bean counters figure out Aus/Eng/Ind playing each other makes more $$ than playing anyone else. Is it ideal? Perhaps not for Pak/SL/WI, but if an Ind-Pak game can't match the revenue (or can't be played due to political issues), why would they? The thing with cricket is that the fans don't directly pay; the advertisers do. So it is they who decide what's profitable.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (July 9, 2014, 13:05 GMT)

Great news, at least we have 4 match test series against the Big 3 which is better than the previous 3 Test series. Happy days.

Posted by TheProfPak on (July 9, 2014, 9:59 GMT)

Disappointed to see only 1 test series b/w SA and PAK.

Posted by Skolla on (July 9, 2014, 9:58 GMT)

Best news on the cricketing front for ages!

Busy watching with one eye SA playing another meaningless ODI against Sri Lanka - cant wait for proper cricket!

Posted by applethief on (July 9, 2014, 9:18 GMT)

If Zimbabwe need help with finances, then switch some bi-lateral hosting for tri-series tours. They're more likely to garner interest as a wildcard in a series that includes India and South Africa than they are from simply hosting on their own.

Posted by fairplay_cricket_fan on (July 9, 2014, 7:59 GMT)

I totally agree with Jamie. FTPs should be merit based. Would be lovely to see SA taking on Aus for a series back to back in both countries.

Thats a real spectacle. Even New Zealand on current from should get good teams to play against. But with the current way cricket world operate, they will get nothing as that 4.5 million population cannot bring in revenues. But the bigger countries who plays substandard cricket will get more and more tours and airtime.

Posted by landofcricket on (July 9, 2014, 7:37 GMT)

@ Mcgorium i agree with your point...u made it clear that up and down comes for every team..so we should not disrespect and underestimate teams based on their current performance...

Posted by fairplay_cricket_fan on (July 9, 2014, 7:22 GMT)

Dear McGorium,

I am so surprised you dont find the type of cricket played by Pakistan, West Indies and Sri Lanka unattractive. In fact all three teams in the last decade been in more Semi and Finals in ICC events than the supposed big 3. India and Australia has atleast been in some.

your argument is well and true. But you have missed the point. Yes. Australia lost to India in India. England beat Australia in England. thats accepted as well. But my point is, why is the big three still trying to play amongst each other ever so often. Look at the FTP of India and Australia. see how often these three will meet each other?

ICC has got it totally wrong. It is time they realise that if they only concentrate of few nations and dot spend their energy and money globlising it, cricket will die. No one will no what cricket is all about.

No wonder Maria Sharapova didnt know who the greatest current cricketer is. One day only Indians, Aussies and Englishmen will only play cricket.

Posted by   on (July 8, 2014, 19:32 GMT)

Greatest spectacle in modern cricket would be Australia v SA playing a 5 test series as it would be a brutally tough series right done to the last over no doubt. Or a 4 test series home then away. But most likely be 3 ashes series before we face SA again.

Posted by fguy on (July 8, 2014, 19:16 GMT)

@Saurabh Wahi exactly, now ftp is decided by respective boards so those ppl unhappy with their team's fixtures should complain about it to their boards & have them organise matches amongst themselves. but even these fans are "big 3" (& more specifically, india) obsessed & really only concerned about playing matches with them

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