Cape Town misses out on India fixtures
Johannesburg and Durban will host India for an ODI and a Test each in December, while Centurion will also stage a one-dayer. Cape Town has not received a single fixture in the itinerary for the three ODIs and two Tests, which the BCCI and Cricket South Africa announced today, ending months of uncertainty over India's tour to South Africa.
India will arrive in South Africa on December 2 and play the first ODI at the Wanderers on December 5. They will play a two-day game in Benoni after the one-dayers as a warm-up to the first Test, which begins on December 18, also at the Wanderers.
"After the completion of our two Test matches against India we will have a further three Tests against Australia," CSA president Chris Nenzani said. "This will allow all of our five premier Test match venues to host a five-day match. I would also like to assure all our stakeholders that we are working on plans to fill the gaps in our international itinerary for the 2013-14 season."
His remarks referred primarily to Cape Town missing out on a Test - Newlands traditionally hosts the traditional New Year's Test, which has now been scrapped. A CSA spokesman said: "Because of the truncated nature of the tour it was necessary to centralise venues as much as possible. We are working on alternative plans to fill the gaps in our home international summer. This will not necessarily be at the New Year."
However, the decision seemed to have caught Western Province, the region where Cape Town is located."To go from having Sachin Tendulkar's 200th test to nothing is a big shock to us," Andre Odendaal, CEO of Western Province, said. "We lose several million [rand] in revenue."
One of the primary reasons the BCCI did not want India's tour of South Africa to spill over into 2014 was the lack of a team sponsor. The current contract with Sahara ends on December 31 and neither Sahara nor the BCCI is keen on extending the decade-long association.
Had India played a New Year's Test in South Africa, the BCCI would have had to either request Sahara to continue as the sponsor for the entire series, or change sponsors midway. The Sahara option was not viable because of its dispute with the board, which resulted in the termination of the Pune Warriors IPL franchise.
The itinerary announced today gave the BCCI a two-week window in January to invite and open bids for a new title sponsor between the South Africa and New Zealand tours. India are scheduled to leave for New Zealand on January 14.
The shortened tour of South Africa will also allow the BCCI to keep their promise of giving the India players a break between two overseas tours, a point the board secretary Sanjay Patel had emphasised through the impasse with CSA. Some players will now also be able to play in the Ranji Trophy quarter-finals from January 8 to 12.
While the BCCI didn't mention the sponsorship issue during their negotiations with CSA, it has been learned that the players' participation in Ranji Trophy quarter-finals was one of the reasons for India's inability to play a New Year's Test.
That India would tour South Africa was confirmed only on October 21, ending an impasse that had begun in July, when CSA announced an itinerary that the BCCI objected to, claiming that the South African board had acted unilaterally.
However, though there was no official statement, the sticking point seemed to be CSA's appointment of Haroon Lorgat as its chief executive despite a series of run-ins between Lorgat and the BCCI during his tenure as ICC chief. CSA agreed that Lorgat would not be involved in affairs involving the BCCI and CSA until an independent investigation into the controversial comments made by the ICC's former legal head David Becker, and Lorgat's alleged role in it, was completed.