West Indies set to host India for four Tests
India will travel to the Caribbean later this summer to play a four-Test series, Dave Cameron, the WICB president, has confirmed. The announcement puts an end to the uncertainty that has surrounded the series - listed on the ICC's Future Tours Programme - ever since the BCCI suspended bilateral engagements as a penalty for West Indies' abandoning of their tour to India mid-way in late 2014.
Although no dates have been fixed, Cameron said the Test series would be spread over July and August. What that means, however, is that the tour would clash with, and disrupt, the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) which is likely to begin in late June, and finish in the first week of August. "The official word is that the tour is on," Cameron told Cricket Radio in Nagpur on Sunday. "We are just awaiting confirmation of the venues now. And once we have done that, we will send out a release with the dates, the venues and everything."
Cameron said it was unfortunate that the players featuring in the Test series will miss out on the CPL. According to Cameron, there was no choice left for the WICB but to agree to the dates despite the clash. "Yes, it will [clash with the CPL]. The unfortunate thing is that the international calendar is packed. And the only window for this tour to come off is during that time. So, there will be a clash, but we are working with CPL to ensure there is no clash of venues so times of the matches won't be hampered."
In January the WICB had shortlisted 15 names for retainer contracts with the emphasis being on those players featuring in Tests. Some of the prominent names in that shortlist include Marlon Samuels, Jason Holder, Denesh Ramdin, Darren Bravo and Kemar Roach. Allrounder Carlos Braithwaite, who is not part of the contracted list but made his Test debut in Australia, the last bilateral long-format series West Indies played, will also miss out on the CPL along with the rest should he play India. "The [CPL] draft did not include the Test players simply because it was always anticipated it would clash with the Test series. So the players are already aware of that," Cameron told ESPNcricinfo on Tuesday.
So far, the CPL, which is into its fourth edition, has already organised the player draft, and even announced that six matches will be played in the USA, but it is yet to announce the dates. Unofficially, it is understood that the CPL will begin in the last week of June and run till the first week of August. According to the FTP, the India tour is scheduled to be played between the months of July and August.
Cameron also took the opportunity to insist that the relations between the BCCI and WICB were absolutely cordial, and that he failed to understand where the reports of perceived differences came from. "You know, the truth is I am not sure where the talk of bad relations with the WICB and the BCCI have come from," Cameron said. "We have always maintained good relations. Fortunately or unfortunately, the leadership of the BCCI has changed, and as you know, Mr Shashank Manohar is now the president, BCCI, and chairman of the ICC, and he has made some changes there as well, and we've been able to move forward in an efficient way."
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo