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“We’re not going to have much Tests if SA20 does not happen”: Shukri Conrad – World News Network

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Cape Town [South Africa], January 5 (ANI): South Africa Test coach Shukri Conrad said that the national team needs to find a way to strike a balance between Test cricket and SA20, the country’s domestic franchise-based T20 league, indicating that the team and players have understood its contribution towards sports’ financial sustainability in South Africa.
Conrad’s statement comes after a loss to India in the second Test and Cricket South Africa (CSA) announcing a squad of largely uncapped players for the two-Test series against New Zealand next month. This move drew a lot of criticism from fans and some players, who accused them of disrespecting the oldest format of the game, most notably former Australian captain Steve Waugh.
Conrad on the other hand though called for a more balanced understanding and co-existence of tradition with cash-rich leagues, indicating that he and the players have understood the financial stability brought by SA20.
Asked to respond to Waugh’s statements about the SA squad for the NZ series, Conrad said that “our hands have been forced” since SA20 is the “lifeblood of South African cricket” and without it they are not going to have much Test cricket anyways.
“I do not think Steve Waugh is going to care what I say but I love how everybody outside South Africa have become experts on South African cricket. Our hand has been forced. Everybody understands the SA20 has to happen. SA20 has to happen because it is the lifeblood of South African cricket. If it does not happen, we are not going to have Test cricket anyway. We have got to find a way to coexist with the league, we have got to co-exist with leagues around the world to ensure the sustainability of the game,” he said as quoted by ESPNCricinfo.
Conrad was critical of those who decided the calendar and kept the series simultaneously with SA20, which will start its season two from January 10 onwards. CSA has though maintained that the dates were decided before the league’s window was finalised. The insiders though confirmed to ESPNCricinfo that CSA was aware of this clash when it decided to run the league when Future Tour Programmes (FTP) talks happened.
“Yes, there was a cock-up, or somebody got it wrong with the scheduling, and this is why we find ourselves here. It is unfortunate but we all saw the value of the league last year,” said the coach.
CSA has given assurance that there “wil be no further clashes between our bilateral commitments and the SA20” throughout the FTP, though in the 2026-27 season, SA will tour England for three Tests, three ODIs and three T20Is and some part of this series will be in January.
Conrad’s immediate concern is the series with NZ, the second series of their World Test Championship (WTC) cycle of 2023-25. Most of the squad announced for the New Zealand series played a three-match series against West Indies A last month, so they have had game time recently. They will depart for New Zealand two weeks before the first Test, which will take place on February 4.
“What we have done is that I used the A side tour against West Indies as part of the prep. We are going to be leaving for New Zealand a few days earlier, so that we can prepare there,” Conrad said. ‘We leave on January 19 for the Test on February 4,” said Conrad.
The coach backs South Africa to put up a fine performance against New Zealand.
“It is still South Africa that’s going there. We do not sing a different national anthem. We do not wear a different blazer or anything like that. We are going to give it our best shot. I hate the fact that South Africa go as underdogs because I do not think we ever should be underdogs in anything that we do, but we do go as underdogs. Anything that we come back with, whether it is a draw or if we sneak a win, that’s going to be massive for us,” said Conrad.
SA has only played two Tests so far in the current WTC cycle and have 12 points. (ANI)


Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from a syndicated feed of ANI; only the image & headline may have been reworked by News Services Division of World News Network Inc Ltd and Palghar News and Pune News and World News


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