South Africa in India 2009-10 December 11, 2009

India ask South Africa to play two Tests

Ken Borland

Widespread fears over the future of Test cricket have been partly assuaged by the news that the BCCI has asked South Africa to play two Tests in India during their tour early next year, dropping two one-day internationals from the schedule to make space for the five-day matches.

India's change of mind - the tour was just going to comprise seven ODIs before being cut to five - came about after they ascended to the ICC's No. 1 ranking in Tests for the first time. Cricket South Africa chief executive Gerald Majola confirmed the request and said they were now trying to make space for the Tests, which would lengthen the tour by a week.

"They [India] have requested we play two Tests and three ODIs and we are still considering it," Majola said. "We still have to consult with the South African Cricketers' Association, the team management, our playing regulations and fixtures committees, as well as the board. It would extend the tour by another week, but we would like to accommodate them and I don't foresee a problem with it."

The dramatic about-turn came only four days after Majola was forced to issue a statement saying the Tests in India had merely been postponed, after a storm of criticism in South Africa that the No. 1 and 2 sides in the premier version of the game would not meet in that format.

It is believed CSA is calling on the sponsors of their Twenty20 domestic competition - the Standard Bank Pro20 - to agree to a postponement of their semi-finals and final by a week in order to accommodate the Tests in India and ensure the country's top players are back for the knockout stages of the Pro20.

The first round of Standard Bank Pro20 semi-finals are due to start on February 24, with the second round beginning on March 3 and the final on March 12. Those dates would all need to be shifted back by at least a week now, meaning the last two rounds of the four-day Supersport Series would have to be moved into April.

The two teams that advance to the Standard Bank Pro20 final land themselves a lucrative place in the Champions League Twenty20, so the franchises are understandably eager for their best players to be available.

India's newly-acquired position atop the Test rankings was under threat because they were only scheduled to play two Tests in the next 11 months, which explains its sudden interest in playing more Tests. Cricket South Africa has invariably tried to ensure they don't land on the wrong side of the BCCI, so it is likely India will get its wish and Test cricket will have a stellar showdown to look forward to.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Satyajit on December 14, 2009, 14:24 GMT

    Test cricket has been played for 130 years without a refferal system and on average people were ok with it. It's shame to say that Indian won the SL series due to non availability of refferal system, that too when they won both tests by innings. If you look at ongoing WI-Aus series, Gayle is completely unconvinced by the system and Ponting thinks the system is probably still not ready for test cricket. I agree to his suggestion that it should be first used in domestic circuit. Tony Cozier is completely unhappy with and Tony Greig thinks it's a mixed bag and should not involve players in the field. I agree to this line of thinking. We are complicating the game further for the players who should concentrate more on cricketing skills. But UDRS is working like a lottery! It has been introduced in a haste. Let it first mature at domestic level and then have the third umpire have all technology and interfere when he sees a glaring mistake.

  • Abhyuday on December 14, 2009, 2:34 GMT

    @JoeGilly and VGomes, so now India are not allowed to win tosses, not allowed to get any dubious decisions going for them, not allowed to tour SriLanka, West Indies, right? What will you people come up with next, not allowed to bat with a bat or bowl with a ball, why those may be artificially manipulated too to give Indian players unfair advantage! And where were all the shouts about UDRS when most of the bad decisions were going against India at Aus? Why did we not hear you people shouting about UDRS when a leading former WI cricketer observed that most bad decisions tended to favour Australia because they were no. 1? Seriously, Cricinfo should consider 20 times before publishing comments from you two.

  • spirit on December 13, 2009, 16:38 GMT

    @ Vansan

    yes I agree wid u that URDS sud hav been used but both da umpires were neutral so talking about bias by some ppl is very rude...and even australia were da no.1 team without URDS for so many years does it mean they did'nt deserved no.1 status earlier??rules r same for both da teams in a series...and india reached no.1 by winning against various teams even before URDS rules were applied except this Sri Lanka series...

  • Sharky on December 13, 2009, 14:37 GMT

    I'm glad India still wants to play some Tests. I hope South Africa will strongly play with and try to keep the Test Game alive. Twenty/20 maybe the spectators best format of the game, but for most of the cricketers, that I know of, luck and unluck play a big role in twenty/20. For some it is more fun than a dual. But they love the money. And when they really wants to concentrate on showing off their cricket talent, patience, endurance and character, they prefer to do it in the 5 day game. I'ts more of a strategy chess game. You,ve got a better chance to create luck in the 5 day game. Competitive cricket series should consist of 3 Test, 3 ODI (mini-tests) and 3 Twenty/20. Rain has always been a enemy factor and you'll just have to except a washed-out series. You could have extra days for the shorter formats of the game. The series should be no longer than 5 weeks. 3 ODI's in 1 week and 3 twenty/20's in 1 week. The rest is a Test a week. This news above is good news!!!

  • Sharky on December 13, 2009, 11:04 GMT

    I'm not from the sub-continent and I don't complain about the pitches. I also wants to see some pitches should favour the bowler and some pitches should favour the batsman. There should be a balance. I think watching batting pitches with big scores all the time are a bore. It's sometimes boring. I also wants to see turn in the sub-continent, swing in England, uneven bounce in the West Indies and Fast Green pitches in Australia and South Africa. We wants to see our heroes facing the DANGER on a fast pitch with a helmet and today's guards. Yesterday's heroes didn't had that gear and ended up in hospital. Not nice, but we love it when our heroes face the danger without any complains. We also sigh when Ricky Ponting or Graeme Smith complains about a pitch. We don't understand why, but see it most of the time just as a mental tactic. All the formats change so much so we should have 3 separate rankings for each format, but a Series-Ranking would also be nice.

  • Abhyuday on December 13, 2009, 10:40 GMT

    @pienk-zuit, Why are you forgetting that South africa won the Ahmedabad Test in 2008 on a substandard pitch, where the ball was moving on day 1 like crazy? Credit should go to India for winning on a challenging pitch in the third test to which South Africa did not adjust. By the way, which team was allout for 85 on a "quality" wicket in Jo'burg in 2006?

  • Muhammad on December 13, 2009, 8:38 GMT

    It's a shame that India is now looking to play tests just to retain their No.1 test ranking spot. This is pretty much evident from the fact that they are are even willing to play a 2 test series by reducing the one day internationals.

    The argument is supported by the fact that this initiative was taken by BCCI just after a week of gaining No.1 test ranking. I strongly feel that ICC should disallow such adjustments to the schedule.

  • Valavan on December 13, 2009, 2:58 GMT

    @ spiritwithin, probably mcroos is wrong? But do BCCI have any hesitation having referal system, if BCCI and INDIA agree referal system and win the series, its really good for INDIAN Cricket, else everyone will come with their opinions, so implement REFERAL as it is i Aus and NZ and prove it you deserve 1 position in Tests. REFERAL SYSTEM is to avoid crucial umpiring errors, better implement it..

  • spirit on December 12, 2009, 22:03 GMT

    some ppl here r talkin about conspiracies regarding india's T20 WC win in 2007 as well as their ascesion to no.1 in test ranking thereby questioning india's all those crying babies let me tell u that india reached da no.1 position in da same way as SA and Australia did earlier and did it by performing consistently well against various teams in varying conditions just like SA and australia had done it da last two years india beat england(both home and away),new zealand in da away series(no home series),beat australia at home and beat them in perth in a tightly contested series(lost da series 2-1 courtesy bucknor),beat pakistan srilanka & west if winning is conspiracy than all r part of it...and what d u ppl mean by quality pitches??just like SA and australia hav fast & bouncy pitches similarly subcontinent pitches r slow and spinning wickets and every country prepare wicket according 2 their a quality side sud in all conditions

  • spirit on December 12, 2009, 17:45 GMT

    @JoeGilly & 4 ppl like u there's conspiracy goin on??thats y india attained no.1 status and also won T20 WC in 2007...does it means other teams like SA australia etc have lost da match intentionally??u mean to say they were also part of da match fixing??for ur kind information india has been winning away test series consitently nowadays(ur still in a dreamland??)..even in australia india is performing well for da last two series..not lost a series to ENG after 1996(home or away),won in NZ,in SA won a test last time but lost da series in a tightly contested series by 2-1..won in pakistan..beat australia 2-0 in 2008...what d u mean by quality pitches??just bcoz u were brought up in fast seaming and bouncy pithes does'nt mean ur pithes r good and spinning pithes r bad..heard about home advantage??sucontinent pithes r tradirionally slow and assist spins..its ur incapability dat u ppl r afraid of spinning wickets..what about mathes finishin inside 3days in SA ENG or aus etc???

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