Friday 13 September 2013 

Cricket The Loser If India Reduces South Africa Tour

Cricket will be the loser if India do not travel to South Africa for a full tour this winter
© REUTERS / Action Image
 

Confusion surrounds India’s scheduled cricket tour of South Africa over the Southern Hemisphere.

The tour is penciled to kick off on Thursday 21st November amid a growing concern that India will not be able to fulfill the scheduled 60-day tour.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) announced that India’s tour would include three Tests, seven One-Day Internationals and two Twenty20s but ironically the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) claims that CSA released the fixtures without their agreement.

The BCCI confirmed that that they will reduce their time playing in South Africa from 60 days to just 43.

"Our priority is to look after the interests of our players and the board. And such a long tour wasn’t viable from either perspective. We need to space out tours so that cricketers get much needed breaks between them," a BCCI official was quoted on ESPNCricinfo.com.

Call it the BCCI throwing its weight around in a repercussive manner in the light of South Africa trying to raise its voice to make its presence count in the global cricketing community, but it is cricket that stands to lose the most.

The peremptoriness with which the South African board announced the itenary for the Indian tourney may have made matters worse between the two nations usually known to have quiet an amicable relationship.

But on the other hand, the BCCI’s stance about CSA’s internal affairs – mainly the election of Haroon Lorgat as its president – isn’t exactly non peremptory.

As stiff-lipped and curt, the BCCI tends to get when questioned about its internal functioning, its shepherding like attitude towards the rest of the cricketing community isn’t doing for the organisations professionalism but highlighting yet again its brashness and arrogance about its financial superiority.

An arrogance that needs to be closely looked at when considering what South Africa has done for Indian cricket during times of its need and how it would impact the two nation’s relationship in the future.

While the BCCI boasts of full coffers with a thoroughly packed cricketing season, it cannot deny that a substantial part of its revenue is generated thanks to the money that gets fuelled in during the Indian Premier League and Champions league tournaments.

There again, monetary attraction is largely due to the foreign players who form a major cog in the working of the IPL wagon wheel of whom, South Africans lead the fray.

Any lingering dispute between the BCCI and CSA would also tantamount to the latter restricting or barring its players from taking part in the all important event – as far monetary aspects are concerned – thus hitting back at the BCCI hard.

Although it would be harder to point out whether this could indeed happen with the South African Board looking to tap in more monetary inflows, as has been in this case, a last minute development along these lines could indeed throw a bigger spark in the wheels of the BCCI.

Though the situation doesn’t seem to have escalated or mutated to such heights at the moment, with the South African Board quietly optimistic of reaching a decisive compromise after an Annual General Meeting in the coming couple of weeks, it’s imperative that the decisiveness doesn’t come at the cost of crickets annihilation with each party sticking to its ground without reaching any middle ground.

As far as the South African Board is concerned, while none can dispute or question Lorgat’s election it stands to reason that its decision to come out with a schedule that could cause ripples – more so considering the BCCI’s claiming of lack of awareness about the proposed itenary – would indeed be introspected even more deeply.

It would then have been a matter of extending the simplest of professional courtesies by the South African Board to consult and discuss with the BCCI, the most convenient suited time to conduct the series. Doing so would have also ensured that the BCCI wouldn’t have had a chance to pinpoint figures at their South African counter parts and would have also prevented a couple of other cricketing tournaments and teams from being caught in the line of fire.

The road ahead thus isn’t going to be all smooth. Even if BCCI and CSA end up resolving the issue successfully, the tear that this incident has wrought upon would always continue to remain with the looming threat of this issue being raked again by a belligerent official from either board.

While no one can predict what would happen, then it’s necessary that egos don’t find a place while they try to build back their rapport and most importantly, try to prioritise the best for cricket over.

Interestingly, the CSA has also refused to say anything about the ongoing debate preferring to remain mum about the whole situation that is worrying South African cricket fans.

"On this stage we will not be commenting or answering any questions related to the India tour until the meeting between the BCCI and CSA takes place,” said CSA’s communications manager, Altaaf Kazi.

South African players earn 19.7% of the revenue generated by CSA so if the tour is shortened they will definitely be hardly hit in the pocket.

© Cricket World 2013

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