WTC 2023: Graeme Smith praises Team India for “taking Test cricket seriously”
WTC 2023: Former South African captain Graeme Smith lauded the Indian cricket team for “taking Test cricket seriously,” particularly under the guidance of their star batter Virat Kohli.
He also thinks that in the future, the largest version of the game might only have five or six nations. The International Cricket Council revealed the 2023–27 Future Tour Programme earlier this week. According to it, England (43 tests), Australia (40), and India (38) will play the most tests, while South Africa will only get to play 28 and Pakistan will play only 27.
“With Test cricket, it is just iconic nations or the big cricketing nations that are contributing at the moment. I think it is fantastic that, especially under Virat Kohli, India really took Test cricket seriously. They lead the way with that,” Smith said to Sky Sports.
“But as long as we have got competitive teams, you are not going to have 10, 11, 12, 13 or 14 competitive teams. You might only be down to five or six nations that play Test cricket at this level,” he added.
The great batter thinks that South Africa, which is presently leading the ICC World Test Championship 2021–23, is hungry to succeed in the five-day format.
The 41-year-old is also the commissioner of South Africa’s brand-new T20 League, which he claims would aid in the growth of the nation’s cricket across all formats.
The league will begin in January of the following year, and South Africa’s best players will be available. After pulling out of the ODI series against Australia that was scheduled for that time, prioritising the league.
“I felt it was important for South Africa to get its own commercial league going, like the rest of the world has. For four weeks of an entire year, the priority will be the league. I fear if we had not done this South Africa could probably have lost eight to 10 players to this UAE T20 league. So there has to be an element of investment to keep our players,” he said.
“There is also an opportunity for our players to interact with top players. And coaches in a really professional cricket environment. Hopefully that will increase the talent pool. The key is the money will flow back into the game. It is an investment I think South Africa cricket desperately needed.”
He said that there is a lot of pressure on countries like South Africa, New Zealand. And the West Indies to maintain their financial stability. So they can compete against powerful teams like England, India, and Australia and keep the sport competitive.
“I do not think world cricket can afford South Africa or one of the top nations to fade away. This league helps that and hopefully, it will flow into Test cricket standards, international white-ball standards,” he added.