Colin Croft, the former West Indies fast bowler, has strongly backed the ICC's proposal to confer first-class status to all matches from the rebel tours to South Africa in the 1980s. The proposal will be discussed at a meeting of chief executives of the ICC's member and associate nations in Johannesburg on September 10 and 11 and the recommendations from that meeting are expected to be approved by the executive board.
Croft was one of the prominent members of West Indies' rebel series in 1983 but the tour ended his career with West Indies as all members were slapped life bans by the West Indies board. Only one player, fast bowler Ezra Moseley, managed to play for West Indies after the bans were revoked by the Commonwealth in 1989.
"They have conferred official status to the matches they played in Australia during the ICC Super Series [in October 2005]," Croft told CMC Radio Sports, "so if you have to confer anything on these matches in South Africa they must also consider them as one-day internationals and Tests."
The rebels played two 'Tests' and six one-dayers in the tour, drawing the 'Tests' 1-1 and losing 2-4 in the one-dayers. The South African Cricket Union had originally deemed all rebel matches first-class games but that status was revoked by the ICC in 1993.
"I would humbly suggest that they have not gone far enough if they would not confer official status on the international matches too. If we played Tests and ODIs against a side representative of South Africa in the 1980s, they have to go all the way and give it Test status or nothing."
Croft hoped that the ICC would adopt a similar approach to the World Series Cricket (WSC) matches organised by Kerry Packer in the late 1970s. "All of the Super Tests and the one-day matches played in WSC were tough, and should be given international status."
However, the ICC ruled out this possibility, saying that the [WSC] matches were played entirely separately from official cricket in the countries in which the matches were hosted, often in direct competition with them.