DUBAI: International Cricket Council President David Morgan and Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat on Wednesday took possession of the ICC Test Championship Mace, signaling the start of the countdown to the top-of-the-table showdown between Australia and South Africa, beginning later this month.
The top prize in the game's ultimate format is up for grabs in the three-match series with the winner taking first place on the ladder, securing USD 175,000 in prize money and giving itself the right to be called the best side in the world.
The ICC will transport the Mace to South Africa in time for Australia's arrival on February 16 and it will be used to promote the upcoming series, and Test cricket, the pinnacle of the game.
Looking ahead to the encounter that begins in Johannesburg on February 26 and also features matches in Durban and Cape Town, Lorgat hoped with so much exciting cricket going on the game will be talked about for right reasons.
"It's a great time for international cricket, and this series will be another chance to remind people why Test cricket is so special," Lorgat said.
The ICC Test Championship Mace was created in May 2001 for the leading Test side and has been held by Australia for all but five months of its existence.
South Africa was the side that snatched it away, albeit briefly, and Graeme Smith’s side has an opportunity to do that again in the upcoming series.