The uncertainty over India’s tour of South Africa grew further when the New Zealand Cricket announced their itinerary on Monday a day after the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s Working Committee meeting approved the proposal of a West Indies tour to the sub-continent.
The tour to the land of Kiwis, which was supposed to begin in February according to the International Cricket Council’s Futures Tour and Program, has been advanced to January leaving a small window for Cricket South Africa to host India.
The New Zealand tour is supposed to begin mid-January with the first of the five ODIs being played on 19th.
Meanwhile, the number Test matches have been reduced from three to two.
Going by the current scenario, the window to accommodate a South Africa series is small. Australia’s tour of India will end in the first week of November, with the last ODI being played on November 2 while the New Zealand tour begins with an ODI on January 19. And between these two dates, India will have to accommodate two big series.
West Indies are likely to play two Tests and five ODIs that could take at least a month leaving little time for South Africa.
Some officials in the BCCI say they are not sure how the tour of South Africa would be accommodated, while some feel that it could be pruned from three to two Tests. The Indian cricket board has still not communicated with the CSA about their plans who are keenly waiting for their counterparts to reveal them of their intentions.
“We have kept a proper window for the South Africa tour between the West Indies and New Zealand series. Although it’s a small window, South Africa will have to accommodate by reducing the number of games — including the Tests and ODIs. It is unlikely that we will play a practice game there,” said a top BCCI official.
A top BCCI official revealed that the West Indies tour is more of a money-making exercise. “We wanted a short series against South Africa and we had a window to accommodate a series that would help us financially.” It is likely that India might play two Tests, three ODIs and two T20Is.
Meanwhile, the New Zealand Cricket is keen to host India as it will give them a major boost financially. NZC’s chief executive David White said he was happy that the summer programme of the Indian team visiting their country was finally confirmed.
“It’s brilliant that the Black Caps will be playing five ODIs against the world’s top one day side given the proximity of Cricket World Cup in 2015,” he said adding that the venues for the tour will be announced next week.
Tendulkar to take it one match at a time
Sachin Tendulkar has rubbished the reports of his retirement after the West Indies series where he will achieve the 200 Tests landmark. He told a news channel that he didn’t want to comment on it and is rather keen on taking it one match at a time. “No reactions now...will take it match-by-match,” he said.
Meanwhile, a top BCCI official on condition of anonymity, said that the hurriedly-planned visit by West Indies was about garnering revenue and is not organised as a farewell series for Tendulkar. “As far as Tendulkar’s retirement is concerned, it is up to him when he wants to quit the game,” official said.