Only half as many home Tests for SA as World Cup looms

23 April 2018 - 17:47 By Telford Vice
David Miller and Aaron Phangiso during the 3rd KFC T20 International match between South Africa and Australia at SuperSport Park on March 14, 2014 in Centurion, South Africa.
David Miller and Aaron Phangiso during the 3rd KFC T20 International match between South Africa and Australia at SuperSport Park on March 14, 2014 in Centurion, South Africa.
Image: Gallo Images

South Africans will have the opportunity to watch the team they support four more times next summer compared to 2017-18.

But that’s where the favourable comparisons end with Test cricket aficionados‚ in particular‚ having been given reason to feel aggrieved.

Sixteen of the 23 games South Africa played at home last season were against powerhouses India and Australia.

Next season’s slate of 27 home matches starts on September 30 with three one-day internationals and as many T20s against Zimbabwe.

Pakistan arrive in December for three Test‚ five ODIs and three T20s‚ the highlight of an otherwise dowdy summer in terms of South Africa’s opponents.

The campaign ends on March 24 in the last of three T20s against Sri Lanka‚ who by then will also have played five ODIs and two Tests.

What with the 2019 World Cup on the horizon South Africa will play more ODIs than anything else: 13‚ up from last season’s nine.

Five T20s will be played compared to the five in 2017-18.

The big losers are Test fans‚ who will be able to see only five matches in the format. That’s half as many as last summer’s 10 and against far less compelling opposition.

But spectators were spoiled last season‚ one of only five campaigns in which South Africa played 10 or more Tests and the first time since 2007-08‚ when a record 12 were staged.

At least fans who are within reach of Centurion will have a novel reason to celebrate extra this festive season in the shape of a Boxing Day Test against Pakistan.

After years of wrongheaded reasoning for putting matches during this period in Durban and Port Elizabeth — people do not go on beach holidays to watch cricket — the suits have finally got it right.

Staging a match on the Highveld when there’s not a lot else going on there seems a sensible idea.

South Africa’s home fixtures in 2018-19:

South Africa v Zimbabwe:

Sept 30: 1st ODI‚ Kimberley‚ 10am

Oct 3: 2nd ODI‚ Bloemfontein‚ 1pm

Oct 6: 3rd ODI‚ Paarl‚ 1pm

Oct 9: 1st T20‚ East London‚ 6pm

Oct 12: 2nd T20‚ Potchefstroom‚ 6pm

Oct 14: 3rd T20‚ Benoni‚ 2.30pm

South Africa v Pakistan:

Dec 19 to 21: Tour match‚ Benoni‚ 10am

Dec 26 to 30: 1st Test‚ Centurion‚ 10am

Jan 3 to 7: 2nd Test‚ Newlands‚ 10.30am

Jan 11 to 15: 3rd Test‚ Wanderers‚ 10am

Jan 19: 1st ODI‚ St George’s Park‚ 1pm

Jan 22: 2nd ODI‚ Kingsmead‚ 1pm

Jan 25: 3rd ODI‚ Centurion‚ 1pm

Jan 27: 4th ODI‚ Wanderers‚ 10am

Jan 30: 5th ODI‚ Newlands‚ 1pm

Feb 1: 1st T20‚ Newlands‚ 6pm

Feb 3: 2nd T20‚ Wanderers‚ 2.30pm

Feb 6: 3rd T20‚ Centurion‚ 6pm

South Africa v Sri Lanka:

Feb 13 to 17: 1st Test‚ Kingsmead‚ 10am

Feb 21 to 25: 2nd Test‚ St George’s Park‚ 10am

Feb 28: one-day tour match‚ Benoni‚ 10am

Mar 3: 1st ODI‚ Wanderers‚ 10am

Mar 6: 2nd ODI‚ Centurion‚ 1pm

Mar 10: 3rd ODI‚ Kingsmead‚ 10am

Mar 13: 4th ODI‚ St George’s Park‚ 1pm

Mar 16: 5th ODI‚ Newlands‚ 1pm

Mar 19: 1st T20‚ Newlands‚ 6pm

Mar 22: 2nd T20‚ Centurion‚ 6pm

Mar 24: 3rd T20‚ Wanderers‚ 2.30pm

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