In the past decade or so, the franchise cricket has definitely impacted the international circuit with many players choosing to play the cash-rich tournaments rather than being on national duty. At times, players with a national team contract don’t hesitate from leaving their side’s game for playing in events like the Indian Premier League or the Big Bash League. Reacting to a user’s query regarding the comparison between franchise cricket and Test cricket, former India pacer Venkatesh Prasad came out with a blunt reply.

The user asked the question as South Africa named seven uncapped players in their Test squad for New Zealand. More and more newcomers have been included in the squad as the senior players will be missing the series due to SA20 — a T20 franchise cricket tournament in South Africa.

“What is your take on SA sending third grade teams to NZ tests? Have tests become luxury?” asked the user.

“Sets a very bad precedent. Sad that it has reached this state where Franchise cricket has surpassed Test cricket in priority . Hope this doesn’t become the way forward,” replied Prasad.

Only two of the players who were in South Africa’s Test win over India on Thursday are in a 14-man squad for the two Tests in New Zealand in February.

Cricket South Africa on Saturday named a squad which includes a new captain in left-handed opening batsman Neil Brand.

Batsman Keegan Petersen and David Bedingham are the only players who were part of South Africa’s innings win in the first Test against India in Centurion. Due to a ruling by Cricket South Africa, no players contracted to franchises in the SA20 competition, which overlaps with the Tests, were eligible for selection.

Despite having to travel with a makeshift squad, Test coach Shukri Conrad said he was confident that the team would be competitive.

The early announcement of the touring party appeared to end speculation that opening batsman Dean Elgar might be persuaded to delay his retirement from international cricket beyond the second Test at Newlands in Cape Town, starting on Wednesday.

Elgar was named man of the match in the first Test against India after scoring 185 in South Africa’s only innings. He will lead the team in the second Test following an injury to Temba Bavuma.

South African squad for New Zealand Tests: Neil Brand (captain), David Bedingham, Ruan de Swardt, Clyde Fortuin (wicketkeeper), Zubayr Hamza, Tshepo Moreki, Mihlali Mpongwana, Duanne Olivier, Dane Paterson, Keegan Petersen, Dane Piedt, Raynard van Tonder, Shaun von Berg, Khaya Zondo.

(With AFP Inputs)

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