India likely to go ahead with Zimbabwe tour
Despite recent doubts that have emerged over India's forthcoming tour of Zimbabwe, a second-string Indian squad is likely to travel for the short series that comprises three ODIs and two Twenty20 matches
Despite recent doubts that have emerged over India's forthcoming tour of Zimbabwe, a second-string Indian squad is likely to be named this month for the three ODIs and two Twenty20 matches.
The tour, scheduled from July 10 to 19, is likely to go forward with officials from both the boards ironing out last-minute details on the sidelines of the ongoing ICC annual conference in Barbados this week. A formal confirmation is awaited in the coming days once the top officials from BCCI and Zimbabwe Cricket conclude their discussions. "They are still talking. [But] it should be fine. We are making progress," an official privy to discussions in Barbados, told ESPNcricinfo.
Doubts over the series emerged in the past few weeks with reports indicating the BCCI was unhappy about the tour being broadcast by Ten Sports, a subsidiary of Essel Group which recently revealed its plans to form another anti-establishment T20 league, subsequently rattling the ICC. In response, an ICC emergency committee - comprising chairman N Srinivasan, ECB's Giles Clarke, and CA's Wally Edwards - was set up to investigate Essel Group's new venture. Considering that Ten Sports owns the broadcasting rights for home matches for a sizeable number of the ten Full Member countries - South Africa, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Zimbabwe - the BCCI has been wary.
Zimbabwe Cricket chairman Wiliam Manase acknowledged the BCCI's concern over Ten Sports in a media release recently, stating the tour could be postponed to next year if negotiations were not successful. "If the matters take too long to resolve, ZC and the BCCI might mutually agree to push the tour to next year," Manase said.
A strong indication that most of the hurdles had been cleared came via a promotional advertisement put out by Ten Sports on Wednesday. According to a Ten Sports spokesperson, he had not heard anything negative from Zimbabwe Cricket till as late as Tuesday. "We have not heard anything from Zimbabwe Cricket which points out the tour is not happening. We speak to them every day," the spokesperson said.
So far the BCCI has not made any reaction on record, but insiders say the selectors are likely to meet on June 29 to pick a second-string Indian squad for the tour.
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo