No new fixtures in Champions Trophy gap - BCCI
The Indian board wants to utilise the window in the international calendar created by the postponement of the ICC Champions Trophy to prepare for the "very important" home Test series against Australia, Niranjan Shah, the BCCI secretary, said.
Shah said India, as of now, had no plan to participate in any international event during that period - September 12 to 28. The board wanted its top players playing in key domestic tournaments and participating in a preparatory camp ahead of the four-Test series against Australia starting in Bangalore on October 9.
Shah said the BCCI expected members of the Indian team to be involved in the season-opening Irani Trophy match - between Ranji Trophy champions Delhi and Rest of India - which has been advanced to September 24, instead of October 1-5 as originally scheduled. "The match [in Vadodara] will feature all the probables for the Test series against Australia," Shah said.
Media reports in Pakistan claimed the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) was hoping to be part of a quadrangular one-day tournament in South Africa, which would also involve the hosts, Sri Lanka and either India or Australia. However, Shah said the BCCI had no plans to participate in any such event.
"We would like to use that time to get our best players to play in domestic cricket and prepare in the best manner possible for the very important series against Australia," Shah told Cricinfo. "What we are also planning at this stage is to organise a comprehensive camp for our players ahead of that series.
"We are also keen to have the Mohammad Nissar Trophy [on September 15 in Delhi, between the domestic champions of India and Pakistan] too. There is also the important series [two 'Tests'] between India A and Australia A [starting in Bangalore on September 3]. We would like to focus on these events, and I don't think anything else is possible," Shah said.
India A will also participate in a one-day tri-series at home against Australia A and New Zealand A from September 15 to 22, and later take on the New Zealanders in two unofficial Tests from September 28 to October 6. Shah said these matches would be crucial for players on the fringe for selection to the Indian team. The India A team includes players like Sreesanth, who is looking to make a comeback from injury, and S Badrinath, the India A captain, who is in line for a Test call-up.
Pakistan were confident that they would be able to confirm a series in order to fill the gap created by the postponement of the Champions Trophy to October 2009 because of security fears expressed by five nations.
On Wednesday, the News reported that "Pakistan, Sri Lanka and South Africa have confirmed [for a quadrangular one-day tournament in South Africa] while India, Australia or New Zealand will most likely be filling in the final spot."
However, Duleep Mendis, the chief executive of Sri Lanka Cricket, (SLC) told Cricinfo that his country has "received offers from different countries" to participate in one-day tournaments in September but said the board has not yet finalised its plans.