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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 25 June 2024

‘Unacceptable’ SA schedule still hurts that made Kagiso Rabada and others miss two-Test series against New Zealand

As many as seven uncapped players were named for series which was a part of World Test Championship, even as first-choice players were involved in SA20 league at home

PTI New Delhi Published 05.04.24, 11:51 AM
Punjab Kings' Kagiso Rabada

Punjab Kings' Kagiso Rabada

Kagiso Rabada, still bitter about the scheduling fiasco that forced him and other senior South Africa players to miss a two-Test series against New Zealand earlier this year, says they were not given a say in the “unacceptable” botch-up.

As many as seven uncapped players were named for the series which was a part of the World Test Championship, even as first-choice players were involved in the SA20 league at home.

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Neil Brand, who captained the Proteas in New Zealand, made his Test debut during the opening game in Mount Maunganui and the hosts expectedly won the series 2-0. Looking back at that controversial episode, Rabada hoped players will not have to go through such unsavoury moments again.

“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,” Rabada, one of the leading fast bowlers in the game, said.

Rabada, currently playing for Punjab Kings in the ongoing IPL, also offered strong support to the uncapped South Africa players who were put in that awkward situation for no fault of their own.

“If I can go back on that point, it is not fair to have a go at the players. It’s not fair to say that those players 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.”

The presence of star South Africa players was important for the success of SA20 and as a result, Test cricket became the casualty.

“At the end of the day, we didn’t really get a choice to even go there (in New Zealand) because of the importance of the SA20.

“It is like shooting yourself in the foot,” said the 28-year-old, who considers Test cricket as the No.1 format of the game.

“Cricket comes from Test cricket and Test, from my perspective, is the best format.

“I would imagine all great players who play all formats to say Test cricket is their favourite format. It is the same for me as well,” Rabada added.

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