SA’s cricketing summer still shrouded in uncertainty

By Antoinette Muller 6 September 2013

The Board of Control for Cricket in India has continued to disregard Cricket South Africa’s suggested fixtures and released the schedule for their impromptu series against the West Indies. Those dates overlap CSA’s proposed schedule and it seems clear that a truncated summer is on the cards. Yet CSA have said nothing and everyone continues to play a waiting game. By ANTOINETTE MULLER.

It’s becoming a he-said, she-said scenario without anyone actually saying anything directly – and so much being said through actions. India have announced their dates for hosting West Indies, with the tour starting on 31 October and ending on 27 November. India’s bumper edition tour against the Proteas was due to begin with a T20 on 21 November, something which is clearly impossible now.

That follows the announcement of India’s tour against New Zealand being brought forward and now overlapping with what would have been the final Test against South Africa at the Wanderers. It is clear that the BCCI are demanding a truncated tour and they will not have it any other way than their own. Since the fixtures were released, the BCCI turned their noses up at the long schedule and even went so far as to say that they were never consulted on the fixtures. Yet CSA had sent a delegation to India in April. Whether the fixtures were discussed then is unclear, but Cricket South Africa stick with their word – they say they followed procedure before releasing the fixtures. As time went on, it became increasingly clear that the BCCI were kicking in their heels at the suggestions of the tour. Reports even went so far as to suggest that the whole thing would be cancelled and India would invite Sri Lanka or Pakistan over for a home series during December instead. Neither party have actually said where they stand at this point in their discussions, though, and that has been the greatest shame for everyone.

On Wednesday, a number of fixtures disappeared from CSA’s official ticket selling partner, Ticketpros. Although tickets have been available since the fixtures were released, nobody has been able to buy tickets yet. This was the same yesterday, but some fixtures went missing. The Daily Maverick noticed this and was told by CSA that it was due to a technical issue as the website had undergone maintenance and some of the fixtures had “mysteriously disappeared”. The fixtures reappeared later that evening and were still there at the time of writing on Thursday.

What should have been a marquee summer is very quickly turning into a farce. It is the fans who will suffer the most as a result of an endless need for power and some drastically spiteful actions from one organisation.

On Thursday night, Cricket South Africa had not yet commented on India’s schedule which they released for the West Indies tour. It’s left everyone in the dark. They governing body insists that they will not react until they have formally heard from the BCCI.

Cricket South Africa have gained a lot of ground since the bonus scandal saga which rocked them a few years ago, but their complete silence on the issue and failure to even acknowledge that there is an issue is starting to become worrisome. With smaller unions standing the risk of losing a large portion of their income and fans trying to plan their summers after having looked forward to the contest all year, the lack of communication is somewhat galling. Perhaps Cricket South Africa are holding crisis talks with the BCCI to try and salvage something positive from all the disaster – but that should be public interest and those who have a lot at stake deserve to know.

Coupled with the silence on where the summer looks set to go, nobody really knows just why there is so much animosity towards CSA’s new chief. It is thought that most of the friction stems from his time in charge of the ICC, but there’s been no grand revelation as to what exactly the problem is.

Jagmohan Dalmiya, the interim BCCI chief, has said that it “would be nice if Haroon Lorgat apologises.” Lorgat had offered to say sorry to anyone he might have offended when he was appointed as CEO. Even back then, when there were murmurs that the plug might be pulled on the tour, CSA’s president Chris Nenzani said that there was no information that the tour would not go ahead.

Lorgat had said: “If I need to sit across a table, to go to India, whatever it takes to smooth things over, I have to put CSA first. When the issues come out, if it means I have offended someone and I need to apologise, I will.”

It is clear that there has been no apology for wherever it is the BCCI thinks Lorgat has sinned. But it is unclear whether a simple apology would patch up what has led to a childlike exchange – with one party throwing a strop because it can, and the rest being left to look on, embarrassed in a public place. DM

Photo: International Cricket Council (ICC) Chief Executive, Haroon Lorgat speaks during the ICC World Twenty 20 World Cup 2012 launch in Colombo September 21 ,2011. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte


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