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Uncertainty over India's South Africa tour schedule

Amol Karhadkar

September 1, 2013

Comments: 262 | Text size: A | A

Graeme Smith and MS Dhoni share the trophy after India drew their Test series in South Africa 1-1, South Africa v India, 3rd Test, Cape Town, 5th day, January 6, 2011
A pruned series between South Africa and India is quite likely at this point © AFP
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The status and make-up of India's tour of South Africa, scheduled to begin in late November, has been put in doubt after it was left out of a list of upcoming series announced by the BCCI on Sunday. BCCI president N Srinivasan said the series is "definitely on", though, and ESPNcricinfo understands the BCCI is on the verge of giving Cricket South Africa a pruned itinerary.

Srinivasan, speaking after the board's working commitee in Kolkata, told PTI: "I've not said that the South Africa series will be scrapped. It's definitely on. We have [merely] proposed a West Indies series in November. There were neither any discussions on the South Africa series, nor did any members raise any questions on it."

Despite the supposed lack of discussion on the subject at the meeting, it is understood that negotiations between the BCCI and CSA have been on for quite a while, and the BCCI is on the verge of giving the South African board a revised schedule cutting down what was originally scheduled to be a three-Test, seven-ODI and two-Twenty20 tour to two Tests, three ODIs and two T20s. The BCCI had already objected to the itinerary released in July, saying Cricket South Africa had announced the schedule without the Indian board's consent.

"Our priority is to look after the interests of our players and the board," a BCCI official said. "And such a long tour wasn't viable from either perspective. We need to space out tours so that cricketers get much-needed breaks between them."

A CSA official told ESPNcricinfo that the board had not been contacted by the BCCI on the schedule yet, and it would not respond till it receives "a formal proposal".

If CSA goes with the reduced series, the next bone of contention would be the Boxing Day Test. CSA had reintroduced the traditional Test while announcing the itinerary for India's tour in July. However, the BCCI may demand that the Tests be played before limited-overs' games, thus taking a Boxing Day Test out of equation.

The BCCI has had issues with CSA over the past year. The Indian board had "raised concerns" when it was known that Haroon Lorgat was in the running to take over as CSA chief; the BCCI and Lorgat are thought to have clashed over several issues, including the Future Tours Programme, the DRS and an ICC independent governance review, during the Lorgat's tenure as ICC chief executive officer.

CSA officials had travelled to India in February to meet with the BCCI to discuss their objections to Lorgat, and, after his appointment, Lorgat had said improving relations with the BCCI was a priority. "If I need to sit across a table, to go to India, whatever it takes to smooth things over... I have to put CSA first," Lorgat had said. "When the issues come out, if it means I have offended someone and I need to apologise, I will."

There is also a feeling in South Africa that the BCCI has been trying to isolate the board through the Champions League Twenty20. The BCCI owns a 50% stake in the tournament, the boards of Australia and South Africa share the rest equally. It is learnt that CSA was not consulted before the fixtures were announced for the 2013 tournament, which starts in India later this month, and South African staff due to attend it are now inclined to stay away.

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by sysubrceq0 on (September 7, 2013, 22:40 GMT)

Its so sad, everyone bringing Tendulkar in the conversation. Article nowhere mentioned SRT name but still fans dragged him on their personal vendetta. July 9th 2013 BCCI objected the schedule stating 7 odi's is too much and gap between test 2 & 3 is just 2 days. Then Mr. Lorgat appointed as CSA chief and said he will go for extra mile to talk with BCCI. Neither he reached BCCI nor tried. BCCI waited for long time. So BCCI made their own arrangements with other countries to make some revenue while there is no home series played after Aus series early this year. Probably next year also difficult to arrange a series because of elections and IPL and NZ tour. So they went ahead with WI. CSA is so stubborn to meet with BCCI to work out the schedule instead they took BCCI for granted. CSA did bring this upon themselves. Instead of knowing facts everyone is after BCCI whatever the fact is. BCCI bashing is a fashion.

Posted by Jda123 on (September 5, 2013, 11:02 GMT)

The only match I want to see with SA and India is test cricket.

3 test matches

Posted by Harmony111 on (September 4, 2013, 12:48 GMT)

@Greatest_Game:

In July, BCCI was facing heat over the IPL Spot Fixing issue & Srini was under tremendous pressure to save himself, his team & his son-in-law at that time. It is likely that just before that, BCCI & CSA had been discussing the schedule but then BCCI got distracted by the spot fixing issue. Either someone in CSA does not know what exactly consent, opinion, input & negotiation mean or someone in CSA thought that since BCCI is under pressure at the moment so let's get a schedule that is fav to us by having 7 ODIs & 2 T20s + a BD test match. Someone hoped BCCI would be naive enough to say yes to it.

The lack of leadership can't be the blamed cos usually such negotiations are done at a lower level, the leaders come in only at the final moment. Btw, Jagmohan Dalmiya is a veteran of WC87 & 96, someone thought he won't be able to manage a single tour?

However, I really hope this was just comm gap and nothing too deep. I hope the tour has at least 3 tests + 3 ODIs & 1 T20.

Posted by Goodfellow on (September 3, 2013, 19:25 GMT)

Cut to the chase. Nothing wrong with 2 Tests because Test cricket is on its death bed. Fans around the world want to see more limited overs cricket because it is exciting and there is a winner and loser decided in a day. Test cricket is the only sport that requires several days for a decision and in many instances there is no winner or loser but a draw. No excitement and a waste of everybody's time.

Posted by king_julien on (September 3, 2013, 18:17 GMT)

I find it funny when people say that India doesn't want to tour South Africa for the fear of losing 3-0. Yeah....its the same reason why they are playing 5 tests at a place they lost 4-0 the last time around and not playing 5 at a place where they came close to winning 2-1 (were it not for Boucher's heroics in the second innings). South Africa has never ever managed to whitewash India.

Understand the situation here, there are more forces at play. If test cricket worked on the fear logic, no test matches will ever be played. I am also frustrated at these developments like other fans. The last series left every fan wanting more. 2 tests is just peanuts.

But yes maybe SA follows this 2 series logic that's why they have played only one 3 match series in subcontinent in last 15 years whereas all the subcontinent teams play 3 match series there :)

Posted by Greatest_Game on (September 3, 2013, 17:09 GMT)

@ SandipManjrekar. Please read my comments of the problems in the CSA over the last few years. CSA has been leaderless & completely dysfunctional. Their schedule announcement, without final agreement from the BCCI, was clearly wrong. However, they HAD been in discussions with the BCCI, & did not change the number of matches that had for years been listed in the Future Tours Programme. This was not a decision from nowhere. BCCI's secretary Sanjay Patel said on July 9, "We have written to CSA mentioning that while we have been discussing the tour itinerary, nothing had been agreed upon…" (cricinfo: Amol Karhadkar, July 9, 2013)

To presume that CSA's schedule announcement was due to arrogance or disrespect is to vastly overestimate the institutional efficiency & decision-making powers of anyone at CSA. A plain and simple mistake at a struggling organization is a far likelier reason.

India & SA have been friends for years. Sometimes friends make mistakes. Please consider that.

Posted by   on (September 3, 2013, 16:47 GMT)

India have to play all the matches in South Africa as It was scheduled earlier, If they won't then It will really matters as per the relations between the two boards is concern, It is really great to watch them both playing in South Africa.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (September 3, 2013, 14:31 GMT)

@ Harmony111. The schedule was announced July 8, BEFORE Lorgat's appointment on July 20. CSA has been troubled for years, & recently established a new constitution & an all new, & much bigger board. Before Lorgat's appointment, Srinivasan had stepped aside from the BCCI leadership. Two boards, each without a mandated leader or well defined chain of command.

BCCI's secretary Sanjay Patel said on July 9, ""We have written to CSA mentioning that while WE HAVE BEEN DISCUSSING THE TOUR INTINERARY, nothing had been agreed upon…" (cricinfo: Amol Karhadkar, July 9, 2013)

The newly structured CSA Board was still deciding on a Chief Executive, & was truly without a leadership structure. With a rotating staff, is it not possible someone thought that the discussions Patel mentions were confirmation of the itinerary? In all honesty, do you think is more probable that the unsettled CSA's announcement was a deliberately arrogant, & unilateral decision, or an unwitting, ill-informed mistake?

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