CENTURION, August 26 – On the eve of his side’s winner-take-all second Test against New Zealand starting in Centurion on Saturday, Proteas captain Faf du Plessis has called on the International Cricket Council to schedule longer Test series in future.

Hosts South Africa and New Zealand had to settle for a draw in the first Test which ended on Tuesday, after over three days were lost to poor playing conditions due to excessive rains in the region.

The non-result in the first contest has thrust the issue of longer series in the longest format of the game, and Du Plessis hoped there would not be too many shortened contests scheduled in future.

“I hope not, two-Test match series’s are too short,” said Du Plessis in Centurion on Friday.  With the current schedule, 5-Test series are going to be hard to have in the future. Me personally, I like three or four Test matches. I feel like when you play two Tests, you’re just getting going. You can have two great matches and then the series is over. Hopefully, three and four will be the objective the ICC will look at. Two is just too short, especially since we’ve just had a rained-off game. Now we’ve got a one-off Test to play.  Certainly, from our point of view, we want to play more Test cricket.  It’s really important because we haven’t played a lot of Test cricket, with the space the team is in now we’d be happy to play as much Test cricket as possible. It’s just that you play a couple Tests then it’s a break, luckily we’ve got Sri Lanka coming here at the end of the year.”

Du Plessis further drove home the point that being successful in Test cricket beat out all other formats of the game.

Definitely, a Test match week is the best week in cricket. Test cricket, you can ask any player, that is the best. That feeling of winning a Test, you can’t find that in any other form.”

With South Africa having fallen to seventh in the latest ICC Test rankings, Du Plessis said playing as much Test cricket at home would help the Proteas move back towards the summit of the ratings.

“Especially because we’re a team that’s very disappointed about where we are on the Test rankings, we want to try and play as many Tests as possible. In South Africa, you want to try and make use of your own conditions.”

Playing in the unfamiliar tail-end of the South African winter in August meant conditions would be largely unknown for both sides. The conditions also meant the South African selectors would debate on the make-up of their side. Du Plessis said he did not know if they would go with an extra bowler, allrounder or spinner.

We are considering possible changes to our team. The wicket looks a touch soft and moist. It will be a tough decision to make. Tonight will be the final call that we make. Pitch-wise, we’re not too sure what to expect, it might be slow but we will have to adjust on the day. The balance of our side is pretty good.”


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