Despite India not touring till early 2018, South Africa will play a Boxing Day Test. CSA CEO Haroon Lorgat confirmed his organisation is in the process of securing an opponent for the festive season fixture.
“We will have content for Boxing Day but we’re not yet in a position to announce that. We need to secure it first,” Lorgat said.
Lorgat also said a Test match is preferred over other formats for the last week of the year. “First prize is a Test match. We would love Boxing Day and New Year to remain as Test content. I know in the past there have been one-day matches and there has been discussion internally to consider one-dayers, but personally I would love to see a Test match played.”
Though the Boxing Day Test – which has switched between Durban and Port Elizabeth in recent years – is fairly poorly attended, it is still a popular television event. When CSA chose to play T20s over the same period in 2012, there was an outcry over their breaking with tradition. The Boxing Day Test has been held every year since.
CSA were thought to be interested in inviting Pakistan for a one-off match over that period but with their series in New Zealand starting early in the new year, that seems unlikely. Instead, it looks increasingly like Zimbabwe could make their first Test appearance in the country since 2005, and may also be persuaded to play in their first pink-ball match.
There is talk of a day-night Test at St George’s Park, which will have newly-installed floodlights by December, which will be a first in South Africa. West Indies are the other team available during that period, unless CSA reach out to Test newcomers Afghanistan or Ireland.
Should the fixture be finalised, South Africa will play an 11-Test home summer with two matches against Bangladesh starting later this month, one over Boxing Day, four against India and four against Australia. Despite India’s tight time frame, CSA are confident the tour will not be reduced from its original itinerary, and hope to be able to announce match dates soon.
“We are pretty close to closing off with India. I’m hoping we can make some announcements towards the latter half of this week. It’s less than ideal – we would have loved that schedule to have been announced a long time back but it is what it is,” Lorgat said.
Source: ESPN Crickinfo