By Nick Said
CAPE TOWN, Feb.15 (Reuters) – South African cricket director Graeme Smith has warned the International Cricket Council that smaller member countries must get their fair share of test tours against the so-called ‘Big Three ” or face the future domination of the Twenty20 leagues.
South Africa feels bad after Australia chose to withdraw from a three-test tour in March over COVID-19 fears, even though hosts said they invested a considerable amount of money to meet the long list of visitors’ demands for medical safety.
He left Cricket in financially troubled South Africa with a loss of income of several million rand, and no time to find another opponent to fill the void. They wrote to the ICC to seek financial redress.
Tours between the big three of cricket – India, Australia and England – remain on schedule for 2021.
England and India are set to meet in nine tests this year, while Australia have already faced the Indians at home and are also set for an Ashes series with England.
“The game needs leadership right now that understands the complexities. I don’t think world cricket wants three nations to go against each other in 10 years. How does that benefit the game?” Smith told reporters Monday.
“That would amplify the (Twenty20) leagues and they would get bigger and bigger, and probably the rest of the member nations will have little to no (international) content.
“ICC leaders need to tackle these issues now, which are being accelerated because of COVID. I think they have been caught a bit off guard.”
Smith’s believes that the Future Tours program, which sets the cricket calendar for nations, has become too fluid, with nations being able to simply choose not to fulfill their obligations.
“FTP will be an extremely difficult thing going forward with potentially eight ICC tournaments in eight years, an extended IPL (Indian Premier League) and much of the calendar dominated by India, England and Australia,” did he declare.
“It makes it difficult for the rest of the member nations, and only increases the stress on people like us and other members looking for good content.”
Smith also admitted that relations between South Africa and Australia have become “strained”, and that attempts to reschedule the three-test tour have so far come to a standstill.
“We’re trying to find a way to fit it into the calendar cycle, which is important to us. We’ve had some initial engagements with Cricket Australia.
“It hasn’t been good trying to find a window, but we’re working hard on it.”