Steve Waugh savages 'disrespectful' move amid concerns for future of Test cricket

The Australian legend has taken aim at South Africa for selecting a relatively inexperienced Test side.

Pictured left Steve Waugh and right South Africa celebrating a Test wicket

Steve Waugh has taken aim at South Africa for selecting a severely depleted Test side to take on New Zealand later this month. The Proteas have named a 14-man squad, including seven uncapped players and Neil Brand as their new captain, despite the fact he has never played Test cricket.

South Africa recently beat India in a home Test but a ruling from Cricket South Africa, which determined no players contracted to SA20 franchises were eligible for selection, has left the side decimated. Only two players who were part of the innings and 32-run victory against India remain - Keegan Petersen and David Bedingham.

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All players with deals to play in the new T20 league funded by IPL investors have been told they must stay home instead of touring. It is a massive indication of South Africa's priorities, especially given the fact they currently lead the 2023-25 World Test Championship standings.

And Waugh is furious with the decision. "Obviously they don’t care," he told The Sydney Morning Herald. Neither Pakistan nor the West Indies have named a full-strength side for this summer's Test series against Australia and Waugh fears it is a rising trend that could impact major Test events such as the Boxing Day Test in the future.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 10:  David Warner of Randwick-Petersham speaks to Steve Waugh during the Sydney Grade Cricket One Day match between Randwick-Petersham and Sutherland at Coogee Oval on November 10, 2018 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
Mark Waugh fears for the future of Test cricket saying: "If we stand by and allow profits to be the defining criteria the legacy of Bradman, Grace and Sobers will be irrelevant". Image: Getty

"It's going to happen if the South African Cricket Board are any indication of the future, keeping their best players at home," he said. "If I was New Zealand I wouldn’t even play the series. I don’t know why they’re even playing. Why would you when it shows a lack of respect for New Zealand cricket?

"It's pretty obvious what the problem is. The West Indies aren’t sending their full-strength side (to Australia this summer). They haven’t picked a full-strength Test team for a couple of years now. Someone like Nicholas Pooran is really a Test batsman who doesn’t play Test cricket. Jason Holder, probably their best player, is not playing now. Even Pakistan didn’t send a full side. If the ICC or someone doesn’t step in shortly then Test cricket doesn’t become Test cricket because you’re not testing yourself against the best players."

His comments follow on from an Instagram post where he asked: "Is this a defining moment in the death of Test cricket? History and tradition must count for something. If we stand by and allow profits to be the defining criteria the legacy of Bradman, Grace and Sobers will be irrelevant."

David Warner believes high-paying T20 contracts are impacting Test cricket

As David Warner gears up for his final red-ball match for Australia, the Australian cricket great admits the allure of high-paying T20 leagues across the world is greatly impacting Test cricket. Warner told the media on Monday that the onus is on cricket's governing bodies to ensure the longevity of Test cricket.

"I think the concerns are with the governing body, to make sure that the scheduling is well in place," he said. I don't think it's on my terms to comment about the South African seven debutants, but I think that's showing where it could be potentially heading and there's going to be a lot of conversations.

"We need to keep Test cricket alive, it's the pinnacle of the game and we absolutely love it. When you get the taste of it and you're out there five days toiling ... that's what Test cricket is all about. Hopefully, it can keep surviving."

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