World Test Championship: Former England batsman Mark Butcher has criticised the World Test Championship (WTC) for doing more harm than good for Test cricket. His comments came after South Africa announced a depleted squad for their upcoming Test tour of New Zealand, due to the clash with their domestic T20 league.
South Africa named seven uncapped players in their 14-man squad for the two-Test series, as most of their regular players were unavailable due to their commitments with the SA20, the country’s premier T20 competition. The squad announcement sparked a fierce debate about the future of Test cricket, with many former players and experts expressing their concerns and suggestions.
One of them was Steve Waugh, the ex-Australia captain, who took to social media to call the South Africa squad announcement a “defining moment in the death of Test cricket”. He urged the cricketing authorities to take immediate action to preserve the oldest and most prestigious format of the game.
Butcher echoed Waugh’s sentiments and blamed the WTC for making Test cricket less relevant and competitive. He said that the WTC, which is a league system that spans over three years and assigns different points to different series, has diluted the importance and excitement of bilateral series and individual matches.
He argued that the World Test Championship has failed to capture the imagination of the fans and the players, and has made Test cricket more nebulous and confusing. He said that the WTC was the wrong solution to the wrong problem, and that the real issues that needed to be addressed were the revenue distribution, player retention, and remuneration.
He said that he had no problem with the richer boards paying their players more, but he wanted a universal standard of money for Test match appearances, so that the players from the less affluent boards would not be tempted to abandon Test cricket for lucrative T20 leagues. He said that the South Africa squad announcement was a sign of surrender and a culmination of a slow moving car crash.
South Africa will begin their Test series against New Zealand on February 4.
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