Johanensburg - The Western Province Cricket Association (WPCA) reacted with disappointment to the news that no matches during India's December tour to South Africa had been scheduled for Cape Town.
“From being scheduled to host Sachin Tendulkar’s 200th Test to nothing, this is a big shock to us and it will impact seriously on our business,” WPCA president Beresford Williams said in a statement on Wednesday.
Williams's remarks came after Cricket SA (CSA) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) issued a joint statement earlier in the day, with the revised tour dates.
The BCCI claimed it had never agreed to the proposed 12-match schedule, which included three Tests, seven one-day internationals (ODI), and two Twenty20 matches. After weeks of negotiations, the two parties had finally settled on two Tests and three ODIs.
“After the completion of our two Test matches against India we will have a further three Tests against Australia,” CSA president Chris Nenzani said.
“This will allow all of our five premier Test match venues to host a five-day match.”
What Nenzani did not make clear was that Australia had always been scheduled to tour South Africa in February/March but Newlands in Cape Town would still lose out on its traditional New Year's Test, one of the most popular events on the South African cricket calendar.
The WPCA stood to lose several million rand in income from the changed tour plans, with advertising income, beverage sales, hospitality and vending all affected, it said.
“Worse still, the most loyal cricket spectators in South Africa are going to be losing out,” said WPCA CEO Andre Odendaal.
“Newlands is the premier Test ground in South Africa, traditionally bringing in the most spectators and the highest income for Tests for Cricket SA. So we are mystified by the decision.
“There has been no explanation given to us so far, but we are encouraged by the President’s statement that CSA is “working on plans to fill the gaps in our international itinerary for this season”.
He said CSA was working hard to provide an alternative product for local fans and the prospect of a T20 tournament with all the Proteas stars available in January/February was exciting.
Fans could also look forward to the scheduled Test against Australia which would take place at Newlands from March 1 to -5.