South Africa defend weakened test squad for NZ series

January 3, 2024 6:24 am

South Africa's Kagiso Rabada celebrates after catching out India's Virat Kohli to win the match with teammates [Source: Reuters]

Test cricket remains the pinnacle of the game, Cricket South Africa (CSA) said after it was criticised for selecting a second-string squad featuring seven debutants for the country’s two fixtures in New Zealand next month.

The series will clash with CSA’s domestic Twenty20 competition, which is seen as vital to the future financial health of the organisation.

The country’s leading players will therefore stay at home and skip the overlapping test tour to New Zealand.

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CSA says this will be a one-off scenario with no fixture clashes in future, but the decision has drawn criticism from several quarters, including former Australia captain Steve Waugh.

South Africa played only four tests in 2023 as limited overs series took precedence.

After New Zealand, they have a two-test series lined up against West Indies, Bangladesh (both away), Sri Lanka and Pakistan (both home) in 2024.