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New Zealand v South Africa

‘We didn’t get a choice’ – Kagiso Rabada brands SA20-NZ Test tour clash ‘unacceptable’

South Africa Test cricketer Kagiso Rabada in action in the field in a Test match
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Kagiso Rabada has branded it “unacceptable” that South Africa’s cricketers were forced to miss out on a Test tour to New Zealand because of a schedule clash with the SA20.

The Proteas slumped to their first-ever Test series defeat to the Black Caps earlier this year, with a severely weakened squad going down 2-0. South Africa fielded six debutants in the first game of the series, including a rare debutant-captain in Neil Brand, with their XI boasting a mere 37 caps combined. Kane Williamson, in the New Zealand XI, had 96 himself. New Zealand won the first Test by 281 runs and the second by seven wickets, with South Africa offering only brief resistance across the series.

The cause was Cricket South Africa’s decision to prioritise the second season of SA20, with those with contracts in the franchise competition not considered for Test selection. According to CSA, the tournament is fundamental to the financial health of cricket in the country.

CSA, and cricket’s global administrators, came in for much criticism for deprioritising Test cricket. Rabada, one of South Africa’s greatest ever fast bowlers, and one of those not picked for the New Zealand Tests due to his SA20 involvement, has decried the situation.

“It was very, very unacceptable and remains unacceptable to date. It was obviously a planning issue. It is unacceptable, that is all I would say about that,” he told PTI. “That is a planning issue and it has got to do with what is happening at the higher level; what happened with Cricket South Africa. It was basically a double book, that was what it was.

“End of the day, we didn’t really get a choice to even go there [New Zealand] because of the importance of the SA20. It is like shooting yourself in the foot.”

Rabada emphasised that Test cricket is the pinnacle of the game in his eyes. “Cricket comes from Test cricket and Test from my perspective is the best format. I would imagine all great players who play all formats would say Test cricket is their favourite format. It is the same for me as well.”

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