Apart from being touted as a big ticket series, India’s tour of South Africa had attracted interest as Sachin Tendulkar was slated to play his 200th Test there.
However, it now appears like the Indian batting maestro could well play the landmark Test here in front of his home crowd. On Sunday, the BCCI’s working committee announced that West Indies could possibly tour India for a two-Test, five ODI series ahead of India’s visit to Africa.
This news came as a surprise to Cricket South Africa. The CSA was not ready to comment despite BCCI’s press release about their latest programme. It is understood that the BCCI did not even discuss the South African safari during their meeting in Kolkata on Sunday.
“We haven’t communicated with the BCCI on this issue nor have they informed us. We would not like to comment on it,” said a CSA spokesperson. If read between the lines, it suggests that the South Africans are miffed with the new development.
To begin with there were misunderstanding between the boards over the scheduling of the tour.
The Indian cricket board wanted to bring some changes to the lengthy tour (almost three months) of South Africa and had conveyed the same to the CSA. They were also unhappy with the home board preparing for most of the games without BCCI’s consent. The minimal gap between each Test is also an issue.
Although, the BCCI are yet to announce the dates for the South Africa tour, the visit by West Indies team will certainly eat into South African tour schedule.
According to fixtures, Australia is slated to visit India and that series will end on November 8. And India’s tour of CSA is expected to begin with a practice T20 game on November 18.
This means the board will have to wrap up the home series against West Indies in 16 days, which is improbable. So, it could be assumed that the BCCI might prune the tour of South Africa.
One BCCI member went as far as to suggest that the South Africa tour could be scrapped. “It was not even mentioned in the meeting. I think it is going to be scrapped,” said a working committee member on the condition of anonymity.
However, the BCCI president N Srinivasan denied it. “I’ve not said that the South Africa series will be scrapped. It’s definitely on. We have just proposed a West Indies series in November. Neither was there any discussion on the South Africa series nor did any member raise questions on the series,” he said.
It is also learnt that the West Indies tour is expected to generate some revenue as India will not be hosting any international team till next year. The West Indies board is said to have readily agreed to the BCCI’s request.
Meanwhile, BCCI approved India’s tour of New Zealand two Tests and five ODIs in January/February 2014. The visit to England five Tests/five ODIs/one T20 International from July to September 2014 also got the board’s nod.