Cape Town – The incentive for South Africa to top the Reliance ICC Test rankings by April 1 has just got a whole lot bigger.
At the International Cricket Council two-day Board meeting which ended in Dubai on Wednesday, approval was given to swell the prize money for the top-ranked team – the Proteas currently lie second to a slightly wobbling England – on that date to US$450 000, or about R3.5-million.
That is well over double the existing prize of $175 000, which Sport24 reported on Tuesday awaited the Proteas if they could rise to No 1 after their New Zealand tour.
For that to happen, they must hope Pakistan complete a 3-0 clean sweep over England in the current three-Test series in the United Arab Emirates, where the effective hosts already lead 2-0, and then achieve the same result themselves against the Black Caps, who have never won a Test series against South Africa.
Even if they end the stipulated period still in second spot, Graeme Smith’s side will scoop $350 000, which is an even bigger improvement on the prior amount they would have expected to bank as runners-up, $75 000.
By 2015, the prize money for the No 1 side will balloon still further to $500,000.
ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said in a statement on Wednesday: “This worthy increase in prize money for the top four teams ... can only be right.
“We are delighted at the growing interest and quality of Test match cricket and we must continue to promote the pinnacle form of the game before and beyond the Test Championship in 2017.”