West Indies likely to play two Tests, three ODIs in India
A day after BCCI announced a proposal to host West Indies in November for a series that had never been mentioned in the ICC's Future Tours Programme, it appears that West Indies will play two Tests and three one-dayers in India.
A BCCI official confirmed with ESPNcricinfo that West Indies are set to play "two Tests and three ODIs starting in the first week of November". The final decision will be made once the tour, programme and fixtures committee finalises the dates in consultation with the West Indies Cricket Board. The itinerary of the tour is expected to be announced mid-September.
If West Indies are to play two Tests and three ODIs after India's home ODI series against Australia, which concludes on November 2, it would mean India cannot reach South Africa before November 30, for a series that was originally scheduled to begin on November 18 with a T20 against South African Invitation XI. Add to that the commencement of India's tour to New Zealand on January 19, which was originally supposed to be the last day of the South Africa tour, which gets trimmed further.
However, the official, who has been involved in negotiations with Cricket South Africa ever since BCCI objected to the itinerary eight weeks ago, reiterated that the South Africa tour was not put off. "We understand we have a commitment and we want to tour South Africa, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't safeguard our players' and board's interests," he said.
With the BCCI adhering to the players' demand of having "at least a week's break" between the South African and New Zealand tours, it appears that India's original South Africa tour of three Tests, seven ODIs and two Twenty20s will be pruned to two Tests, three ODIs and a solitary T20 and CSA may have no choice but to accept whatever BCCI offers.
Players' demands aside, the official also indicated that the ego problem that the BCCI representatives have had with their South African counterparts has been one of the hurdles while finalising the tour schedule. "Just because an FTP was announced many years ago doesn't mean you should announce the tour itinerary without even consulting us," the official said.
With time running out for CSA to finalise their domestic season's fixtures, it appears that the South Africa tour itinerary won't be sealed till the CSA officials bow down to the pressure exerted by the most influential body in world cricket.
Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo