October 15, 2013

India's administrative tour of South Africa to go ahead

Months of speculation and politicking brought to a close with announcement that series will proceed

India's cricket administrators have announced the much-awaited dates for their month-long meetings tour of South Africa in December and January.

The meetings fixtures had been held to ransom over the past few months by the threat of live cricket, but the BCCI triumphantly announced that cricket will not spoil the mouth-watering summer of negotiations in South Africa.

The tour will begin with two short meet-and-greet functions, before moving on to a series of more substantial talks. The centrepiece will be the three five-day conferences to be held in the biggest cricket meeting rooms in the country.

The tour is expected to draw plenty of interest, as it features the world's No. 1 cricket administrators facing off against another top administrative body.

"The blockbuster tour promises to produce some of the most keenly contested negotiations between the two boards," a BCCI release said. "The boards share a rich history of arbitration across all debate formats, and the star-quality of the protagonists of the upcoming tour will fuel the rivalry to even greater heights."

The BCCI boasts two of the most successful administrators since the turn of the century in N Srinivasan and Sundar Raman, but Haroon Lorgat, who has made a comeback for South Africa in the last few months, has been effective against the India administrators in the past few years.

South Africa's home advantage is also expected to be significant, as the backroom political connections and intimidation that subcontinental administrators often rely on are traditionally less effective outside Asia. The BCCI administrators will also have to contend with the absence of regular chai deliveries.

"The India administrators are going into the tour after months of tough domestic meetings, and hope they can maintain their good form in the Supreme Court as they head to South Africa," the release said.

Polycoms, cellphones and projectors are expected to be used in the meetings, but there has been some contention over other proposed technology. Cricket South Africa had been keen to use Powerpoint, as they do in all their home meetings, but the BCCI has rejected the idea, claiming Powerpoint is not foolproof.

Cricket South Africa had nervously awaited news of the tour, as they had already sold the catering contracts and paid meeting-room air-conditioning bills before the status of the tour had come into question. The announcement is expected to put CSA at ease about the state of its convention budget.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here
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