Kagiso Rabada: It is not fair to say players got free Test caps

Kagiso Rabada cricketKagiso Rabada.

Fast bowler Kagiso Rabada has rued Cricket South Africa’s decision to send an under-strength Test squad to New Zealand earlier this year.

Several first-choice players, including Rabada, were unavailable for the tour after being contracted to SA20 franchises. The 2024 SA20 coincided with the series in New Zealand.

South Africa gave Test debuts to wicketkeeper Clyde Fortuin, batsmen Eddie Moore and Raynard van Tonder, all-rounders Neil Brand and Ruan de Swardt, fast bowler Tshepo Moreki and spinner Shaun von Berg in New Zealand.

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“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,” PTI quoted Rabada as saying.

“If I can go back on that point it is not fair to go at the players. It is not fair to say that players are being picked and they got free Test caps. I don’t think it is fair to put that criticism on the players. They simply got asked to go there, and at the end of the day they are not going to say no.

“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 to New Zealand because of the importance of the SA20. It is like shooting yourself in the foot.”

India and Australia currently occupy first and second position on the International Cricket Council’s World Test Championship points table – and will contest a five-match series later this year.

South Africa are in joint second-last position alongside Bangladesh, while England are at the bottom of the nine-team standings.

“When it comes to countries excluding India, England and Australia, it is quite unfortunate. The way that I see it, to become a powerful cricket nation without the advantage of currency and advantage of television rights, it is about playing good cricket,” added Rabada.

“The better you play, the more teams want to play with you. It is very hard to argue against why those nations would want to play with each other because at the end of the day, it is about sustaining the business of cricket which is to make revenue and that is how the game stays alive.

“How do you incorporate other nations playing the same amount of Test cricket – I am not sure. If you are looking at prolonging Test cricket, if you want kids to keep playing Test cricket globally, then a plan has to be made.”

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