India are on the verge of bumping Sri Lanka off the schedule for South Africa's next home summer, CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat has revealed. The move may also affect the India v Pakistan series scheduled for the same 2017-18 New Year period.
The international schedule - agreed to by boards in 2014 - had Sri Lanka going to South Africa for a second successive summer, for a three-Test tour. However CSA is now attempting to have India play four Tests, five ODIs and three T20s at that time instead.
"I've given an indication to Sri Lanka that that tour is unlikely," Lorgat said. "We've got a very packed season coming up, starting with Bangladesh in the early season. We've got India touring for four Test matches plus five ODIs and three T20s, and then we follow with Australia for four Test matches. It's very unlikely, and I've already given the indication to Sri Lanka that they should avail themselves to someone else."
CSA's plans to host India also hinge on the cancellation of the India-Pakistan tour scheduled for that same period. The India-Pakistan series that had been scheduled for December 2015 failed to go ahead due largely to political turmoil between the two nations. The schedule has Pakistan touring India for a three-Test tour at the end of this year, but that encounter is also under serious doubt.
Lorgat said the BCCI had not confirmed the proposed tour of South Africa, but he put that down to the administrative upheaval in the India board, following a Supreme Court order earlier this week.
"About the tour schedule with India: I'm not reading anything untoward," Lorgat said. "They've got a difficult period that they're going through currently. You would have read the president has been removed and the secretary has been removed. They are in a state of turmoil. I've been assured by them that in the next few weeks they will try and confirm that, but they've got a history of not confirming until a few months or a few weeks before."
SLC is aware that CSA wishes to bump them off the schedule, but have limited scope to protest, since next summer's tour does not have a corresponding reciprocal series scheduled in Sri Lanka. Just as Sri Lanka have not been a particularly profitable guest for CSA - gate earnings at the Newlands Test have already been affected by the match failing to go five days - SLC also loses money when South Africa tour for Tests.
The ICC does pay the smaller seven Full Member nations biannually from its Test Cricket Fund, in order to protect ties such as the Sri Lanka-South Africa series. However, the boards have generally been underwhelmed by the combined $1.25m paid to them each year as part of this fund. Even a two-Test series is understood to cost most boards more than $1.25m to host.