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Steve Waugh criticizes ICC over South Africa naming seven uncapped players in Test squad

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Former Australian captain Steve Waugh has blamed the International Cricket Council (ICC) and leading cricket boards for not ‘caring’ about Test cricket after South Africa named their squad for the tour of New Zealand.

Steve Waugh’s criticism came in the wake of South Africa announcing a depleted squad, featuring seven uncapped players for the two-match Test series against New Zealand, commencing from February 4, 2024.

South Africa announced uncapped batter Neil Brand as the captain for the New Zealand tour which will be played at the same time as SA20 league, featuring the frontline Proteas players.

Steve Waugh voiced his concern for the future of Test cricket while putting the blame on ICC and major boards for not taking proactive steps for it.

“Obviously they don’t care, but 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,” Waugh said.

“I understand why players don’t come. They’re not getting paid properly. I don’t understand why ICC or the top countries who are making a lot of money don’t just have a regulation set fee for Test matches which is a premium, so people are incentivised to play Test Cricket,” he further added.

Steve Waugh furiously stated that not sending a full-fledged team is disrespectful to Test cricket as well as the opposing team.

“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?”

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Steve Waugh also expressed concerns that if the same tradition persisted, then Test cricket would not remain as competitive in future as it should be.

“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,” stated the former Australian skipper.

“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 [to Australia].”

“The public are the ones who are going to suffer because it’s not the full side playing, so it’s not Test cricket,” Waugh concluded.

South Africa will play the first Test against New Zealand in Mount Maunganui from February 4 to February 8, while the second Test will be played from February 13 to February 17 in Hamilton.

South Africa squad for New Zealand series

Neil Brand (c), David Bedingham, Ruan de Swardt, Clyde Fortuin (wk), Zubayr Hamza, Tshepo Moreki, Mihlali Mpongwana, Duanne Olivier, Dane Paterson, Keegan Petersen, Dane Piedt, Raynard van Tonder, Shaun von Berg, Khaya Zondo

READ: David Warner announces retirement from ODI cricket ahead of farewell Test

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