Zimbabwe faces an anxious wait to learn the fate of their proposed four-day Boxing Day Test against South Africa and their bid to host the International Cricket Council (ICC) 2019 World Cup qualifiers ahead of the global body’s board meeting next week.
By Kevin Mapasure
While it is generally thought that Zimbabwe will be given the rights to host the World Cup qualifiers, the determination will be made by the board at their meeting in Aukland.
ZC board chairman and managing director Tavengwa Mukuhlani and Faisal Hasnain will represent Zimbabwe Cricket at the meetings.
Having been given an invitation to play South Africa in the first-ever four-day Test in Port Elizabeth starting on December 26, Zimbabwe Cricket will be keen to find out whether that proposed match will be given the ICC’s blessings and Test status.
South Africa is ready to play limited overs matches during the period if the idea of a four-day Test is shot down.
According to reports in the South African media, Cricket South Africa is looking at One-Day Internationals or T-20 cricket if the ICC refuses to grant Test status to the day and night match.
South African captain Faf du Plessis and the Test team’s vice-captain Dean Elgar, spoke out strongly in favour of Test cricket remaining a five-day game.
“I understand that they’re looking at four-day Tests so that there is less of a workload as far as the schedule is concerned. That will free up time in the schedule for other tournaments.”
“It’s tricky. I’m a fan of five-day Test cricket. I believe that the great Test matches have gone to the last hour of the last day – day five. That’s what’s so special about Test cricket,” said Du Plessis.
Elgar also criticised the idea of a four-day Test.
“If you play around the world, Test cricket is followed quite well; in England and Australia,” said Elgar. “Even in South Africa, when you play against the big nations, you get very good crowds. There are other formats around that are being used to experiment with, I don’t see why Test cricket should suffer.”
“It doesn’t happen every summer that we play in Potch. it’s a once off, we play here every two, four years. Can we sacrifice that? I’m sure we can. As players we have a job, we have to play for five days, I don’t think you should tinker, that’s when you start disrespecting the game.”
For the World Cup, seven teams have already qualified for the finals while Zimbabwe, West Indies, Ireland and Afghanistan join the Associate sides for qualifiers that determine two other nations that will play at the global showcase in England.
The ICC will consider three bids from Zimbabwe, United Arab Emirates and a joint bid from Ireland and Scotland.
An announcement will be made on October 15.