South Africa’s cricket fans will be able to enjoy a clash between two of the top teams in the world this summer, but there is deep disappointment over India’s shortened December itinerary, which is to comprise only two Tests and three One-Day Internationals.
Anger has also been expressed about India’s hostile attitude towards South Africa, with former great Barry Richards saying their bully boy attitude is “bad for the game of cricket”.
The hostility between the boards is said to be because of poor personal relations between the chief executive of Cricket South Africa (CSA), Haroon Lorgat, and the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Narayanaswami Srinivasan, dating back to the time when Lorgat was chief executive of the International Cricket Council (ICC).
It has now emerged that the humiliating price South Africa has to pay for even the shortened tour to go ahead is that Lorgat will be “withdrawn” from participating in ICC-related matters as well as any aspect of administration involving CSA’s relationship with the BCCI. He will, however, continue to fulfil his other functions as CSA chief.
The ICC is to carry out an inquiry into a number of allegations against Lorgat. Principal among these is his alleged involvement in former ICC legal head David Becker’s statement that the BCCI’s flouting of the future tours programme could have legal implications.
Becker was referring to the fact that according to the programme, India’s tour of South Africa was to take place between November and January, until India changed its mind in July, introducing tours with the West Indies and New Zealand. Becker said it was “improper” for a member body to “blatantly disregard an ICC resolution”.
Tuesday’s joint release said: “All parties have agreed that this investigation will be carried out in private, that no further media comment will be made until it has been concluded, and that its findings and recommendations will be binding upon CSA.”
Referring to India’s antagonism towards Lorgat and its attempt to stop CSA from appointing him as its chief executive, Richards said: “If we, or any other country, objected to the election of a particular Indian administrator, India would, quite rightly, tell us to mind our own business. So why should they feel entitled to behave in that way towards us?”
Former South African captain Shaun Pollock said that from a cricketing perspective he was “disappointed” that the number of Tests had been reduced from three to two.
“I think the Indian and South African cricketing public will be upset to miss out on a proper Test series. There’s no doubt at all that our cricket fans wanted to see more of the Indians.”
The South African Cricketers’ Association also expressed disappointment.
“This is a huge blow not only to the players but also to the cricket loving public of South Africa,” said SACA’s chief executive, Tony Irish.
“Everyone is now deprived of a meaningful series, especially in the Test format between the world’s top two cricket nations. I don’t see how this can possibly be in the interests of either cricket in this country or of the global game. Cricket is the loser, plain and simple.”
“In addition, CSA will suffer massive financial losses which will affect players, cricket programmes and cricket development at all levels in our country”