Johannesburg – South Africa look like they will lose out on the chance of hosting Sachin Tendulkar’s 200th Test in the summer, while Cricket South Africa could take a further financial hit if India’s tour here is shortened.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Sunday outlined plans for a short tour by the West Indies in November, which is likely to comprise two Tests, meaning Tendulkar, who has played 198 Tests, could play the historic match in India, probably in his home town Mumbai.
According to reports in India, a proposal for the tour was sent to the West Indies Cricket Board. Given India’s financial muscle, it will be very hard for the WICB to turn down that offer.
Following a meeting of their working committee on Sunday, the BCCI outlined plans for a two-Test series with the West Indies, the Indian side’s tour to New Zealand in January-February next year and India’s tour to England which is likely to comprise five Tests. Crucially for Cricket SA, there was no word of India’s tour here at the end of the year.
In July, Cricket SA had released a schedule comprising three Tests, seven ODIs and two T20 Internationals – with the second Test in Cape Town likely to host Tendulkar’s historic achievement.
The BCCI were understood to be very unhappy about that schedule especially the number of ODIs, as well as the nine-day gap between the second and third Tests.
The BCCI’s president N Srinivasan on Sunday told an Indian news agency that, the South African tour was “definitely on”.
“I have not said that the South Africa series will be scrapped. We have just proposed a West Indies series in November. Neither were there any discussions on the South Africa series nor (did) any member raise questions on the series.”
If the West Indies tour to India is approved, and with India’s tour to New Zealand likely to start towards the latter stages of January, it leaves a relatively short window in which the South African tour can be played meaning it could be significantly reduced.
The tour was due to start on November 21 with a T20 International at the Wanderers. Cricket SA are almost certain to lose out on a few ODIs, but most significantly, they could also lose out on a Test.
The BCCI’s moves on one level to have a short tour by the West Indies were being explained away by the fact that they haven’t had an incoming tour all year, but the spectre of that organisation’s apparent unhappiness with CSA because of their appointment of Haroon Lorgat as CEO still appears to rankle.
The BCCI had raised concerns with CSA president Chris Nenzani when they met with him and other CSA Board officials in February this year.
The BCCI are understood to still be upset with Lorgat and the stance he took with regard to governance, the implementation of DRS and the switching of a venue at the 2011 World Cup. Lorgat has continuously expressed his desire to sit at a table and meet with officials who may be angry with him.
“I don’t want to be out of favour with someone who was a friend of mine. I want to understand what the issue is. I will do my very best to gather and understand what it is and to apologise if I have to. I did what I thought was best for the game of cricket. If I offended someone in that process they and I have to understand that,” Lorgat said when he was appointed.
By late on Sunday CSA had yet to hear officially from the BCCI about any concerns they had over India’s tour schedule.