31 October 2013
A revised fixture list for India’s tour of South Africa was released on Wednesday, with just six matches, to be played in December, replacing the original schedule of 15 matches, which were to have been played from 18 November through 19 January.
The tour schedule was heavily affected after an unseemly spat between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Cricket South Africa (CSA), as a result of the BCCI’s dislike for CSA CEO Haroon Lorgat because of some decisions he made while head of the International Cricket Council (ICC).
Lorgat has stood down for the duration of the Indian tour; on Tuesday, he said it was his own decision to step aside. However, the incident has left many South African cricket supporters with a bad taste in the mouth.
The biggest loser in the saga is Cape Town’s Sahara Park Newlands, a ground rated among the most scenic in the world, which had been due to host a test, a one-day international and a T20 international, but was instead left with no games.
“From being scheduled to host Sachin Tendulkar’s 200th test to nothing, this is a big shock to us and it will impact seriously on our business,” Western Province Cricket Association (WPCA) president Beresford Williams said on the organisation’s website.
WPCA CEO Andre Odendaal said the association “stands to lose several million rand in income from the changed tour plans, with advertising income, beverage sales, hospitality and vending all affected.
“Worse still, the most loyal cricket spectators in South Africa are going to be losing out.”
‘The most spectators’
“Newlands is the premier test ground in South Africa, traditionally bringing in the most spectators and the highest income for tests for Cricket South Africa,” Odendaal said. “So we are mystified by the decision. There has been no explanation given to us so far, but we are encouraged by the president’s statement that CSA is ‘working on plans’ to fill the gaps in our international itinerary for this season.”
For the Proteas, it will mean missing out on a ground that has been a fortress for them since their last loss there in 2006 to Australia. Since then, in 11 tests, South Africa has won eight and drawn three matches.
Cricket South Africa president Chris Nenzani tried to put a positive spin on matters, saying in a statement: “After the completion of our two test matches against India we will have a further three Tests against Australia. This will allow all of our five premier test match venues to host a five-day match.
“I would also like to assure all our stakeholders that we are working on plans to fill the gaps in our international itinerary for the 2013-14 season,” Nenzani said.
India occupies third place in the ICC test rankings and is top of the one-day international rankings. South Africa is number one in the test rankings and fifth in the ODI rankings.