Graeme Smith © Getty Images (File Photo)
Graeme Smith © Getty Images (File Photo)

Graeme Smith feels just a handful of nations are contributing to the development of Test cricket at the moment. India led the way in the development of Test cricket under former skipper Virat Kohli, according to South African legend Graeme Smith, who reckons only five or six countries may be playing the longest format in the coming years.

Virat Kohli’s era as Test captain of Team India came to an end after he decided to step down following the team’s loss in the three-match series (1-2) against Proteas in January 2022.

Graeme Smith Image Source : ICC
Graeme Smith Image Source: ICC

Graeme Smith: Under Virat Kohli, India Took Test Cricket Seriously

Smith’s comments came on the back of the ICC’s new FTP, according to which South Africa play fewer Tests in the next cycle (2023-2027) than the current one (2019-2023) and no three-Test series in the 2023-2025 World Test Championship (WTC).

“With Test cricket, it’s just iconic nations or the big cricketing nations that are contributing to Test cricket at the moment,” Graeme Smith said on ‘Sky Sports’ during day three of the first Test between South Africa and England.

The 41-year-old feels under Virat Kohli India “really took Test cricket seriously.” Virat Kohli has been a flagbearer of the longest format of the game. He led India to the final of the maiden World Test Championships alongside several memorable Test wins.

“I think it’s fantastic especially under Virat Kohli that India really took Test cricket seriously. They lead the way with that. But as long as we’ve got competitive teams, you’re not going to have 10, 11, 12, 13, or 14 competitive teams. You might only be down to five or six nations that play Test cricket at this level,” Graeme Smith added.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli (Credits: Twitter)

Virat Kohli, who won 40 out of 68 matches as Test captain, ended as India’s most successful skipper in the longest format of the game.  Under Virat Kohli, India ended its wait for a Test series win in Australia, and also topped the Test rankings for a long period of time.

Graeme Smith Welcomed Investment Of South Africa’s New T20 League Which South African Board Desperately Needed

All six teams in Cricket South Africa’s new T20 league have been bought by IPL owners and Graeme Smith, who was recently appointed the commissioner of the league, welcomed the investment, which he feels the country’s cricket board “desperately needed.”

“It’s certainly going to be an investment into our game that South African cricket desperately needed,” Graeme Smith said.

“The pressures on nations like New Zealand, West Indies, South Africa to stay financially sustainable to keep up with England, India, and the world game to stay competitive is hugely important. I don’t think world cricket can afford South Africa or any one of the top nations to start fading away.”

Cricket South Africa Image Source: TWITTER/CSAOFFICIAL
Cricket South Africa Image Source: TWITTER/CSAOFFICIAL

To have all their players available for the maiden edition of the league, Cricket South Africa (CSA) chose to forfeit a three-match ODI series in Australia.

“For four weeks of an entire year, the priority will be the league. I feel that if we hadn’t done this South African cricket could have probably lost eight to ten players to this UAE league,” Graeme Smith said.

“People also look at those three ODIs wrong. Yes, South Africa hasn’t handled ODI cricket as well and it should never be in this position. But for South Africa to be in Australia out of their key part of the summer financially is a huge stress for them.”

“It’s like asking England not to play during your summer. The commitment that South African cricket made to go for the three Test matches is good for the game. It’s something that won’t happen often.”

The inaugural edition of the CSA T20 League is scheduled to take place in January-February 2023. The owners of Mumbai Indians have bought the Cape Town franchise, Lucknow Super Giants owners have purchased the Durban franchise and Chennai Super Kings owners have bought the Johannesburg franchise.

Also, Sunrisers Hyderabad owners have bought the Gqeberha franchise, Rajasthan Royals owners have acquired the Paarl franchise and Delhi Capitals co-owners have acquired the Pretoria franchise.