Cricket South Africa to back four-day Tests

Ironically, the statement was issued shortly before play started on what promised to be an intriguing fifth day of the second Test between South Africa and England.

South Africa’s Quinton de Kock watches the ball after playing a shot as England’s Jos Buttler looks on.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Cricket South Africa issued a one-paragraph statement on Tuesday stating it was official policy to support four-day Test cricket.

But the statement appeared to surprise both the acting chief executive of Cricket South Africa and the chief executive of the South African Cricketers' Association.

The full statement by CSA read: “In view of an unsourced and misleading report in the media this morning please be advised that it is Cricket South Africa's official policy to support four-day Test match cricket.

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“We, in fact, hosted the first official four-day Test match between ourselves and Zimbabwe a couple of years ago.”

Asked to elaborate, a spokesman for CSA said he was not aware whether CSA had taken a formal decision to support a suggestion that the World Test championship should consist of four-day matches from 2023.

The proposal appears to have the support of England and Australia.

The statement was made in response to an article in the London Daily Mail which claimed South Africa was opposed to four-day Tests.

Jacques Faul, the acting chief executive of CSA, said he believed all stakeholders needed to be consulted before an official position was taken.

“I was not privy to any discussions which might have taken place on this issue before my appointment,” he said.

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Andrew Breetzke, chief executive of the SA Cricketers' Association, said SACA aligned itself with the position of the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (Fica).

“We believe this is an issue which needs extensive research and discussion,” he said.

It was not clear whether Smith, Boucher or captain Faf du Plessis had been consulted on the issue of four-day Tests.

Ironically, the statement was issued shortly before play started on what promised to be an intriguing fifth day of the second Test between South Africa and England at Newlands.