South Africa’s win against England at Lord’s was great in more ways than one


South Africa will be playing FAR less Test cricket in the next five years as they try to balance the books… and they’ll need more impressive wins like their one against England at Lord’s to keep going

  • South Africa beat England by an innings and 12 runs at Lord’s last week
  • The Proteas will play just 11 two-match Test series in the next five years
  • Domestic T20 competitions are being prioritised because of money reasons
  • South Africa must keep winning Test matches to help keep the team alive 

South Africa’s destruction of England at Lord’s signified the beginning of a new era for the Proteas Test team. Not one in which they go on to dominate the world, but one in which they have to keep winning just to keep the game alive.

They will play the bare minimum for the foreseeable future, just enough to fulfil their commitments to the World Test Championship. 

But should they falter and, heaven forbid, endure a lengthy (or even short) period in the doldrums, they will experience little appetite among their own administrators to bankroll a return to winning ways. There is certainly no appetite elsewhere.

Cricket South Africa’s chief executive, Pholetsi Moseki, is a money man — in a good way. He worked in the corporate world for decades until CSA hired him deep into the organisation’s four-year crash to the brink of insolvency.

South Africa captain Dean Elgar has been critical of his team’s lack of upcoming games

It is disingenuous and pointless to blame Moseki for the fact that South Africa will play just 11 two-match Test series in the next five years and two three-match series (against Australia at the end of this year and England at home). It’ll be at least five years until they return to these shores.

It is also wrong to say Moseki is ‘not a cricket person’. Whatever he may lack in passion for the game is more than compensated for by consultation with those who are ‘cricket people’.

They say they would like more Test cricket. Moseki does the numbers — they don’t add up. He is told the country’s best cricketers must be available for the new T20 domestic league in January and February, usually prime international cricket season.

CSA lose money every time they host a Test match not involving England or India and generate much more revenue from white-ball games against the same opposition.

The Proteas blew England away in the first Test at Lord's last week with an innings victory

The Proteas blew England away in the first Test at Lord’s last week with an innings victory

South Africa are packed with talented cricketers but are suffering from money issues

South Africa are packed with talented cricketers but are suffering from money issues

South Africa will never play as much Test cricket as they used to. The greatest hope is that they will continue to play the bare minimum and that the WTC will remain alive.

There is an excellent chance that Dean Elgar will lead his team back to Lord’s next year to contest the WTC final. After that the battle will be to remain relevant and a ‘box-office’ fast-bowling line-up helping to win lots of games is the best way to do that. Elgar is 35 but just three other members of the squad are over 30.

South Africa must be as successful at the box office as they are on the field if they want to continue to play Test cricket. They may even attract a new sponsor if they carry on playing as they did at Lord’s.

Warning his team against complacency after the Lord’s victory, Elgar said: ‘I believe you should play every Test as if it’s your last.’ It was a familiar figure of speech with a new, bitter twist.

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