How West Indies, Proteas lose out to cream of Test cricket

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Limited Test match opportunities stifling talent and milestone achievement.

IMAGE: I probably will never get to 50 Tests. That will take me another seven years. Some countries in the next few months they play 20 games. It’s hard, South African paceman Anrich Nortje said. Photograph: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

West Indies all-rounder Jason Holder has raised concern about a limited Test schedule affecting players’ chances of reaching milestones.

Holder, who has 60 caps for the West Indies in the longest format, insisted that only “big three” countries like England, Australia and India have a busy schedule.

“The way world cricket is going now, apart from the big three, every team is barely playing any Test cricket,” Holder said on Wednesday.

 

“We average six to eight Test matches over the last three years. This year we’ve got six, next year around six. You have to be in the 11 for every single game to get anywhere close to 100 Tests,” he said, referring to the starting line-up.

Holder highlighted the case of West Indies’ Test captain and opener Kraigg Brathwaite, who has played 83 times since his Test debut in May 2011, while England’s Joe Root has 129 caps since his Test debut in December 2012.

“It just shows you the amount of cricket England plays in comparison to us,” Holder said.

“It’s beyond our control. We’ve just got to deal with what’s in front of us and try to make the most of it.”

South Africa fast bowler Anrich Nortje, who has 18 Test caps, said players try to make the most of the limited opportunities they get.

“I probably will never get to 50 Tests. That will take me another seven years. Some countries in the next few months they play 20 games. It’s hard,” Nortje said.

“You can’t compare what the greats have done in the past, they played a lot of Test cricket. That’s the main format. We play four games, eight games or 10 games over two years.”

South Africa are this week hosting the West Indies in the first Test at Centurion. The hosts have a 179-run lead before the third day gets underway later on Thursday.

 

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