India celebrate after taking a wicket against Sri Lanka. Photo: REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte

JOHANNESBURG - Bending over backwards to accommodate Indian cricket is becoming tiresome. Cricket South Africa has to do it because India is the most popular team in the cricket world, and bowing to their every whim, is necessary because well - money.

So CSA is bending over backwards - and it hurts - it will also hurt local cricket followers. The reason for the BCCI being difficult about the schedule for the Indian team’s tour to South Africa at the end of the year this time - a schedule CSA apparently showed to the BCCI back in March - is hard to fathom.

The last time India toured here there was that mess involving the relationship between Haroon Lorgat and Narayanaswami Srinivasan - the former big boss of Indian cricket. But Srinivasan has been removed from cricket in India - by a high court - over attachments to corruption in the IPL - among many other things.

India memorably shortened their last tour to South Africa to just a month, with the highlight of the local cricket summer - the New Year’s Test at Newlands stripped off the calendar. It was a disaster - especially for CSA’s coffers - and actually started setting the wheels in motion for the organisation to establish a domestic franchise T20 competition, so that South African cricket wouldn’t be financially beholden to incoming tours from the so called "Big Three" - Australia, England and India - or the hosting of ICC events which had been split up between these three countries.

It was believed that after the 2015 tour by South Africa to India that relations between the two cricket boards had thawed. The Proteas played four Tests, five ODIs and three T20 internationals. India would reciprocate when next they toured South Africa except it’s not in a fashion that fits tradition in this country nor at the time of year when cricket is a major part of the holiday entertainment.

The BCCI is refusing the play the Boxing Day Test having just recently squeezed in another series against Sri Lanka - the same Sri Lanka they’ve just thumped in three Tests, none which went to a fifth day and in which the margins of victory were massive. 

India, who according to their schedule, will arrive in South Africa after 26 December, also wants to play two warm-up games before the first Test, so the "New Year’s Test” won’t happen from 2 January - but only in the second week of January - at the earliest.

It’s frankly a disgrace from the biggest bullies in world cricket and brings shame on that country and its team. What was once the Friendship Series is now anything but. The disrespect shown by Indian cricket to South African cricket and local fans is reprehensible.

The Star

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