Johannesburg – Cricket South Africa responded on Tuesday to what it described as “concern” about the country sending a below-strength team to New Zealand, claiming it was unable to agree alternative dates for the series.
“We reassure the fans that CSA has the utmost respect for the Test format as the pinnacle of the game we love,” the organisation said in a statement.
Only seven capped players are in a 14-man squad for the two Test matches in March – only two of whom played in the first Test against India last week – because CSA has given priority to the SA20, a T20 franchise competition.
The announcement of the squad on Saturday led to criticism, notably from former Australian captain Steve Waugh, who said the selection showed a lack of respect to New Zealand cricket.
CSA BOARD STATEMENT ON SA SQUAD FOR THE NEW ZEALAND TOUR 🇿🇦🇳🇿
Cricket South Africa notes the concerns about the composition of the Test squad that will be travelling to New Zealand later this month🏏
We reassure the fans that CSA has the utmost respect for the Test format as… pic.twitter.com/bdUmMmf0qY
— Proteas Men (@ProteasMenCSA) January 2, 2024
“If I was New Zealand I wouldn’t even play the series,” he said.
CSA acknowledged that the dates for the New Zealand tour had been agreed before the SA20 schedule had been decided.
“Once it became apparent that there would be a clash, we made every effort to find another mutually suitable time slot for the two-Test series in consultation with New Zealand Cricket.
“Regrettably the constraints imposed by the global cricket calendar rendered this impossible.”
According to the statement, there will be no further clashes during the current World Test Championship cycle between South Africa’s bilateral commitments and the SA20, “a tournament that was initiated by us to help grow and sustain the game”.
The statement commended Test coach Shukri Conrad for preparing a group of players that CSA believed would “represent the Proteas badge with honour”.
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