Cricket-loving South Africans in several cities around the country will not get the chance to see World Champions India in action this summer after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced a window for the end of year tour too small to accommodate the fixtures announced by Cricket South Africa (CSA) in June this year.
India were scheduled to open the tour with a T20 International at the Wanderers on November 21 yet the BCCI announced that it would be playing two test matches and three ODIs against the West Indies during the month of November.
The third and final test match between the countries was scheduled for the middle of January – by which time, the BCCI confirmed on Sunday, the national team would already be in New Zealand preparing for their tour of that country. India will also play five test matches against England this summer.
So, the world’s No 1 test nation will have the ‘honour’ of hosting MS Dhoni’s team for two matches while England will host five. It seems certain that the BCCI will also propose the minimum number of ODIs to satisfy their obligation to the ICC’s Future Tours Programme (FTP), namely three.
But they may be gracious enough to agree to two T20s which will generate full houses at the Wanderers and Newlands.
There is nothing CSA can do to change the situation. It is what it is.
The BCCI have made the point that an Indian summer without any international cricket will cost them hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue and, besides, the mini tour by the West Indies will give Sachin Tendulkar the chance to play his 200th test in front of an adoring home crowd in Mumbai rather than at Newlands which is where it would have been played. They are valid points. And they were also valid six months ago.
Make no mistake, a short tour by India is far better than no tour by India, and it is still more lucrative than a tour of any length by any other nation barring England. But the likely reduction in fixtures from 12 matches to seven, or even six, is likely to mean a loss of revenue to CSA in the region of R150 million.
It is time to swallow deeply, remove pride from the equation, and start rebuilding bridges. That’s the only option, as much as it may stick in the throat for a little while longer yet.
Haroon Lorgat upset the BCCI during his four-year stint in charge of the ICC and, although every comment he has made on the subject so far has been conciliatory and peace-making, there has been nothing similar forthcoming from India.
He has no option but to lie low and hope the relationship between the countries improves. Time is the best healer.
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