'Clarifies how Test cricket is being viewed' - Elgar critical of CSA for New Zealand tour chaos

Seven members of South Africa's in-transition first-choice Test playing unit will miss the games on Kiwi shores as they clash with CSA's new T20 league. 
Dean Elgar

Dean Elgar laid bare passionate disagreement with Cricket South Africa (CSA) regime for prioritising the newly-launched SA20 league above the country's Test team by opting to go ahead with the tournament's second iteration when the side is due to tour New Zealand for two World Test Championship (WTC) games. 

From the moment the two Tests in Mount Maunganui and Hamilton were finalised for the window between February 4 and 17, fans had speculated if CSA would second a second-string Test squad, with almost negligible hopes of the board reorganising or rescheduling its cash cow T20 league backed by IPL's billionaire franchises. 

A formal announcement on the itinerary for the next summer's SA20 confirmed South Africa's plans for the New Zealand Tests. The Temba Bavuma-led side will be missing the skipper himself, followed by lead pacer Kagiso Rabada, Heinrich Klaasen, Rassie van der Dussen, Lungi Ngidi, Marco Jansen, Anrich Nortje and Keshav Maharaj. 

With nearly seven members of the first-choice playing unit missing from an in-transition set-up, fears are that South Africa are doomed on the Kiwi trip and could come back with their maiden Test series loss to the Black Caps. 

Elgar slams CSA for prioritising SA20; Kiwi Test selection mess 

Elgar, the former skipper, lamented the situation and slammed the Proteas cricket board for giving SA20 priority above the national cause, especially at a time when South Africa are approaching what is expected to be a long-drawn transition phase in the Test match format. 

The board has also failed to secure enough Tests in the next Future Tours Programme (FTP) for the men's team, with just 28 scheduled in 2023-27, making CSA's intention and priority clear to try and create greater space for limited-overs internationals and free-up the calendar for players to go ahead with their T20 gigs across the globe. 

"It’s tough to take. It shows what the narrative is when it comes to Test cricket, and again it’s the players who suffer," Elgar told the City Press. "A high percentage of the players still really want to play Test cricket, and it’s just extremely sad and clarifies a lot of things when it comes to how Test cricket is viewed by the authorities."

"We can’t butter our bread on both sides here. It’s lekker to have the franchise T20 competition, but what’s the bigger picture? How would New Zealand Cricket, with whom we probably have the strongest relationship of all countries, view us sending a ‘C’ side over there? That could cause a breakdown in the relationship," he added. 

CSA did propose New Zealand Cricket (NZC) to postpone the Tests but the Kiwi board declined the request, aware that such a scenario would create a mess on their planned schedule for the coming home summer, also featuring assignments versus Bangladesh, Pakistan and Australia.