South Africa pace spearhead Anrich Nortje has criticised the International Cricket Council (ICC) for giving fewer Test matches to his country in the World Test Championship (WTC) cycle, saying getting just six games in a year when other are playing 15 is unfair.
Dean Elgar’s side will begin its three-Test campaign against Ben Stokes’ England at Lord’s on August 17 hoping to garner maximum points in order to seal a spot in the WTC Final scheduled next year.
South Africa are marginally ahead of Australia at the top of the WTC rankings with 71.43 percentage points and, despite getting fewer games, are in pole position to secure a place in the 2023 final.
“If we play six (Tests) in a year and you guys (England) play 15 in a year, I don’t see that being fair,” Nortje, who will have a key role in the three-Test series against England, told Daily Mail.
“Our guys are not going to be as well-known as previous generations if we play 18 games in three years, or something like that,” he added.
The 28-year-old fast bowler also urged the cricket authorities to give his country the number of Tests befitting its current status. South Africa have got fewer opportunities than the big three comprising England, India and Australia.
“We want to be the No. 1 team in all formats. It’s unfortunate the way it’s gone but we are very keen to make a mark. It would be nice to be able to play more Test cricket, not just two-match series,” he added.
The anomaly in the numbers can be gauged from the fact that South Africa have played 26 Tests over the past four years, while England and India have played 53 and 41 games respectively. Australia, who barely left home during more than 18 months of Covid isolation, also played 34 Tests.
With bilateral series not involving the three wealthy cricket-paying nations not a lucrative proposition, it is believed the Proteas lose out on more Test-playing opportunities. South Africa have only two home Tests lined up in two of the four years of the next Future Tours Programme (FTP).
“The players themselves are really excited and want to play Test cricket,” said Nortje. “We’re excited to play, excited to be here and go head-to-head with one of the better teams at this stage.”