The 2023-2027 Future Tours Programme was released this week, revealing that England will play 43 Tests in that period, Australia 40, and India 38 – but South Africa only 28 and Pakistan just 27.
Speaking during the opening Test at Lord’s, which South Africa won inside three days, Smith said: “With Test cricket, it’s just iconic nations or the big cricketing nations that are contributing at the moment.
“I think it’s fantastic that, especially under Virat Kohli, India 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.”
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Michael Atherton added: “I hope there is a place for Test cricket. I know the game changes but if it lost cricket played over a multi-day format it would lose something precious.”Leadership is needed at the top of the table to carve out space for the five-day game and also first-class cricket in your domestic competition, which you need.”
South Africa currently sits top of the ICC World Test Championship and Smith believes his country remains eager to succeed in the five-day arena.
Smith: New T20 League vital for South Africa
The 41-year-old says the introduction of South Africa’s new franchise T20 league, of which he is commissioner, will help cricket in the country develop across the formats.
The competition begins in January and the Proteas’ top players will be available after South Africa pulled out of an ODI series in Australia at the same time to prioritize the T20 league.
Smith added: “I felt it was important for South Africa to get its commercial league going, like the rest of the world has. For four weeks of an entire year, the priority will be the league.
“I fear if we hadn’t done this South Africa could probably have lost eight to 10 players to this UAE T20 league so there has to be an element of investment to keep our players.
“There is also an opportunity for our players to interact with top players and coaches in a professional cricket environment.
“Hopefully that will increase the talent pool. The key is the money will flow back into the game. It is an investment I think South African cricket desperately needed.
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“The pressure on nations like South Africa, New Zealand, and West Indies to stay financially stable to keep up with England, India, and Australia and keep the game competitive is huge.