Last Updated: January 21, 2024, 13:47 IST
Michael Vaughan played 82 Tests between 1999 and 2008. (AFP Photo)
There have been concerns over the future of Test cricket after South Africa announced a vastly depleted squad for their New Zealand tour next month with first-choice players taking part in SA20.
Michael Vaughan suggests carving a dedicated window to play Test cricket annually is the ‘only way’ to secure the future of the format. The former England captain’s comments have come after South Africa named a nearly third-string squad for a two-match Test series in New Zealand with the first-choice players busy playing in SA20 – their domestic T20 league.
After Cricket South Africa’s announcement, the likes of Steve Waugh, Pat Cummins, Jason Holder among others expressed their concerns over the format’s future.
“A 3 month dedicated window for Test cricket every year for both the men & women’s teams is the only way to protect the greatest format. No other cricket but Test around those 3 months, the other 9 months for all the leagues ICC events,” Vaughan wrote on X (formerly Twitter).
A 3 month dedicated window for Test cricket every year for both the men & women’s teams is the only way to protect the greatest format .. no other cricket but Test around those 3 months .. the other 9 months for all the leagues ICC events .. 👍👍— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) January 20, 2024
With the advent of T20 cricket followed by the various franchise-based tournaments around the world gaining popularity among the players and the fans, Tests seems to have fallen down in priority.
The ICC has introduced the World Test Championship to keep the bilateral tours relevant. There have also been suggestions to compensate players fairly to make sure they continue playing red-ball cricket.
In an interview to Hindustan Times, West Indies allrounder Jason Holder floated the idea of a ‘minimum wage’ model.
“The only way you can honestly see Test cricket being saved is, if you have a window for Test cricket in a year so that you can have your best players available to play there. And on top of that, you need to compensate players fairly. If we could come up with a model where you can have a minimum wage where you can’t fall below a particular threshold,” Holder said.
MCC president Mark Nicholas also thinks that exclusive windows to play Test cricket every year is the way forward.
“I think Test cricket is going to have to find windows. As the franchise tournaments continue to almost kidnap the game, in a way, and then demand ransoms, probably the best thing everybody can do is find a couple of windows a year, maybe Christmas and New Year into January and June and July, maybe July and August, where you play Test match cricket,” Nicholas told The Hindu.