India to tour SA for three Tests and seven ODIs
India will tour South Africa for three Tests, seven ODIs and two Twenty20s beginning in December this year and extending to early 2014. This will be the teams' first meeting since two seasons ago when they battled for the No.1 ranking which India held onto under Gary Kirsten. Now, South Africa are mace holders with Kirsten in their camp.
There was talk of a fourth Test being built into the schedule but that has not materialised. Mike Gajjar, CSA's manager cricket operations, said it was only ever a "possibility" to have an additional Test and the two boards stuck to what was "entrenched in the FTP."
But there is some good news for fans of the longest format. ESPNcricinfo understands the traditional Boxing Day Test will return to Durban after it was cancelled previous season because CSA opted to play three festive T20s instead. Although the other venues have not been confirmed, it is a given that Cape Town will host the New Year's Test and either Johannesburg or Centurion should get the third fixture.
Both teams will be short on Test cricket before the meeting. South Africa last played the format in February and will only meet Pakistan for two matches in the UAE before hosting India while their opposition will not play a single Test between now and then. India whitewashed Australia at home in March but have only fifty-over engagements until they fly to South Africa.
That includes seven ODIs against Australia after the Champions Trophy which adds to the glut of matches in the format. South Africa do not usually host ODI series of longer than five matches so India's scheduled seven is unusual. It should present an opportunity for some of the less visited grounds in the country, such as the Maritzburg Oval, the chance to host international cricket.
India's tour forms part of a bumper summer for South Africa. They also host Australia for three Tests in February-March 2014. Both series are among the more lucrative incoming tours with only England being the other team to bring in sizeable profits from television rights.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent