Proteas get their Box­ing Day Test wish

ICC also ac­cepts pro­posal for new league for­mats

Daily Dispatch - - Sport - CRICKET By TELFORD VICE

THERE will be lights‚ cam­eras and ac­tion at St Ge­orge’s Park on De­cem­ber 26 – the suits have smiled on Cricket SA’s (CSA) idea of a four-day‚ day-night Box­ing Day Test against Zim­babwe.

The nod was cracked – on a trial ba­sis – at the In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil (ICC) meet­ings in Auck­land this week‚ where ap­proval for Test and one-day leagues was also granted. “Our pri­or­ity was to de­velop an in­ter­na­tional cricket struc­ture that gave con­text and mean­ing across in­ter­na­tional cricket and par­tic­u­larly in the Test arena‚” ICC chief ex­ec­u­tive David Richard­son was quoted as say­ing in a re­lease.

“This has been de­liv­ered and ev­ery Test in the new League will be a five­day Test for­mat. How­ever through­out the dis­cus­sions about the fu­ture of Test cricket it be­came clear that whilst con­text is cru­cial we must also con­sider al­ter­na­tives and trial ini­tia­tives that may sup­port the fu­ture vi­a­bil­ity of Test cricket.

“The (four-day) trial is ex­actly that‚ a trial‚ just in the same way day-night Tests and tech­nol­ogy have been tri­aled by mem­bers.

“Four-day Tests will also pro­vide the new Test-play­ing coun­tries (Afghanistan and Ire­land) with more op­por­tu­ni­ties to play the longer ver­sion of the game against more ex­pe­ri­enced op­po­nents‚ which‚ in turn‚ will help them to hone their skills and close the gap with the top-nine ranked teams.”

The trial ends at the start of the 2019 World Cup‚ and whether a Test is played for four or five days will be the sub­ject of bi­lat­eral agree­ment be­tween the coun­tries con­cerned.

The top nine teams will con­test the Test cham­pi­onship‚ with 13 sides vy­ing for the hon­ours in the ODI league. The suits will now busy them­selves with com­plet­ing fix­tures‚ de­vis­ing points sys­tems and fi­nal­is­ing play­ing con­di­tions.

“The Test se­ries league will see nine teams play six se­ries over two years – three home and three away – with each hav­ing a min­i­mum of two Tests and a max­i­mum of five and all matches be­ing played over five days cul­mi­nat­ing in a World Test League Cham­pi­onship fi­nal‚” Richard­son was quoted as say­ing.

“The ODI league will be a di­rect qual­i­fi­ca­tion path­way to­wards the World Cup and will be con­tested by the 12 full mem­bers plus the win­ners of the cur­rent World Cricket League Cham­pi­onship. In the first edi­tion of the league‚ each side will play four home and four away se­ries each com­pris­ing of three ODIs mov­ing to all teams play­ing each other from the sec­ond cy­cle on­wards.”

More im­por­tantly than all that‚ the re­lease said that: “The process for the ap­point­ment of the ICC fe­male in­de­pen­dent di­rec­tor was con­firmed and the re­cruit­ment will get un­der­way in the com­ing week.”

Re­mem­ber when cricket was a fuddy-duddy frumpery played and con­trolled solely by men and only in day­light hours‚ and five-day Tests were sa­cred? Not be­fore time‚ the grand old game and the mod­ern world are col­lid­ing. — DDC

Pic­ture: GALLO IM­AGES

HIGH-FIVES ALL­ROUND: The Proteas cel­e­brat­ing with Kag­iso Rabada af­ter he claimed a wicket dur­ing the Box­ing Day Test against Sri Lanka in Port El­iz­a­beth last year. Rabada and the team will be back at St Ge­orges this year af­ter the four-day day-night Test against Zim­babwe was given the green light by the In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil ear­lier this week

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