De Villiers blames T20 cricket for short South Africa-India Test series

De Villiers blames T20 cricket for short South Africa-India Test series
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“The players, the board and coaches will turn towards where there is more money,” he said about the clash between Tests and T20 leagues

The two-Test series between South Africa and India ended in a 1-1 draw  •  AFP/Getty Images

The two-Test series between South Africa and India ended in a 1-1 draw  •  AFP/Getty Images

Former South Africa captain AB de Villiers is annoyed that India and South Africa played only a two-match Test series and blamed the rise in T20 leagues for the situation.

South Africa and India shared the honours with the hosts winning the opening Test in Centurion by an innings and 32 runs before the visitors emerged victorious in the second Test by seven wickets.

De Villiers advocated for longer Test series and reckoned that “something has to change” if the best team in the world is to be identified.

“I am not happy that there is not a third Test. You have to blame the T20 cricket going around the world for that,” he said on his YouTube channel. “I do not know whom to blame, but I sense something is wrong. If you want to see all the teams compete and see who is the best Test team in the world, something has to change.”

South Africa will next be travelling to New Zealand in February, again for a two-Test series. However, eyebrows were raised when Cricket South Africa (CSA) announced a second-string squad for the series, with seven uncapped players, because of a clash with the SA20. Neil Brand, who is yet to make his Test debut, has been handed the captaincy reigns of the side.

The Tests will clash with the second season of the SA20, set to run from January 10 to February 10, with most of the top South African cricketers playing in the tournament.

De Villiers feels Test cricket is under pressure and admitted that the players and coaches would rather opt for competitions that offer big money than play the five-day format.

“It (South Africa’s Test squad for New Zealand) has sent shockwaves around the cricketing world and has made it clear that Test cricket is under pressure, for that matter even ODI cricket and the whole system is turning around T20 cricket.

“The players, the board and coaches will turn towards where there is more money. You cannot blame them for thinking about their future with their family.”

Cape Town surface ‘pretty stock-standard’

The surface for the second India-South Africa Test came under much scrutiny after the match ended in just under two days – the shortest-ever in the history of Test cricket. There were concerns about the standard of the pitch in Cape Town but de Villiers termed the surface as “pretty stock-standard”.

“It was a pretty stock-standard wicket, in my opinion. I remember jumping around there on day one,” he said. “If you can just get through the first session on day one, it gets easier. If you see the players playing their shots and not hanging around, they were doing well. I remember Ben Stokes scoring a double-hundred there. I scored some hundreds there.

“You cannot allow bowlers like Vernon Philander, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Kagiso Rabada to keep bowling on off stump.”

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