JOHANNESBURG: India and South Africa cricket chiefs are to meet in Dubai this month to defuse a row over the scheduling of an upcoming tour between the two countries, Cricket South Africa said on Friday.
CSA said chief executive Haroon Lorgat will meet Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Sanjay Patel during a scheduled International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executives’ meeting on September 16-17.
A statement said the meeting was agreed “after several conversations between the two over the past few days as they work towards resolving scheduling issues around the end-of-year tour to South Africa by India”.
What was announced as a tour consisting of three Tests, seven one-day internationals and two Twenty20 internationals seems likely to be shortened following announcements by the BCCI of plans for an incoming tour by the West Indies and the re-scheduling of a tour by India to New Zealand.
The West Indies tour will end only after the tour to South Africa was due to start, while the tour to New Zealand will start before the scheduled third Test in South Africa is due to finish.
CSA’s statement quoted Lorgat as saying: “There has rightly been concern about reports of a shortened tour by India but I am looking forward to meeting Sanjay so that we can work out the best possible schedule under the present circumstances.
“As custodians we have a responsibility to act in the best interests of the game and all our stakeholders.
“It is clear to me that both our Boards are committed to working together to ensure the wonderful relationship we have had for the past 22 years is strengthened.
“As South Africans we will always be grateful to the Indian government for the leading role they played in first enforcing the sports boycott during the dark years of apartheid and later, together with the BCCI, facilitating our return to the world family of cricket nations.
“While we would not want to disappoint our fans and stakeholders and keep them abreast of developments, we have to follow official communication protocols in dealing with this matter, so we ask for patience and support as we engage our counterparts at the BCCI,” said Lorgat.
Many South African commentators believe the likely pruning of the tour is the result of an intense dislike of Lorgat by some BCCI officials, stemming from his four years as ICC chief executive until last year.
Lorgat disagreed with the most powerful national board in world cricket on a number of issues, including the Future Tours Programme and the Decision Review System (DRS).
Indian officials did not want Lorgat appointed CSA CE, and the South African media has portrayed the tour issue as an act of revenge.
The South Africa cricket body is set to lose an estimated $15 million (11,450 million euros) if the tour is virtually halved as India are by far the most popular tourists to the republic.
There has also been criticism of the CSA, with the belief that it could cash in on the 200th Test appearance of Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar considered “naive”.
Under the original itinerary, Tendulkar would have reached the milestone in Cape Town. Now he is set to do so against the West Indies in his homeland.