One of the marquee events in international cricket, the Test series between Australia and South Africa later this year has shrunk to an unprecedented two-match affair to accommodate the lucrative Champions League Twenty20 in India, according to a report.
The official itinerary of Australia's October-November tour of South Africa is yet to be announced, but according to the Daily Telegraph, for the first time there will be room for only two Tests, along with two Twenty20 International matches and three ODIs.
"The billion-dollar cash cow, Twenty20, continues to strangle Test cricket and with it one of Australia's greatest modern rivalries. In a sad indictment of the modern game and its lopsided priorities, Australia and South Africa will play only two Tests in a short series later this year," the report said.
"Chief among the reasons for relegating this usually fierce competition to minor league status is the glorified domestic Champions League Twenty20 tournament in India during September and early October," it said.
Cricket Australia, however, said that this tour was extra cricket slotted in among the standard four-year home and away cycles of three-Test series.
CA Chief Executive James Sutherland claimed that Test cricket remained Australia's priority.
"It is our premium format of the game and we're committed to it," Sutherland said.
India owns 50 per cent of Champions League Twenty20 while Australia and South Africa have shares of 33 per cent and 17 per cent. Australia's top two Big Bash teams will play in the tournament.