South Africa tour may be cut if BCCI have their way

The tour may be trimmed due to BCCI's fall-out with the CSA CEO Lorgat.

The South Africa Tests may turn out to be Tendulkar's last.

The South African cricket board officials will be keenly following the proceedings of Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) working committee on Sunday in Kolkata. For them it is expected to end months of uncertainty over the Indian team’s upcoming tour of South Africa as the BCCI could take a final call on the itinerary.

However, if sources are to be believed, there could be much disappointment in store for the Cricket South Africa (CSA) officials.

The BCCI, it was learnt, will be emphasising on heavily chopping the original schedule proposed by CSA. The BCCI wants to limit the tour to three One-day Internationals (CSA originally wanted India to play 7ODIs), two Tests (from the original 3) and leave the two T20Is intact.

There is no doubt about the lack of trust that the BCCI officials have towards Haroon Lorgat, but their decision to rework the tour has nothing to do with their issues with the new CSA CEO.

BCCI’s decision is solely based on finances. The Board is losing out on a lot of money due to a lack of home series this season and is desperate to squeeze one in. At the moment, it is looking to get West Indies to play a two-Test and three one-day series. It was learnt, that the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) too are fine with the arrangement.

“If we don’t have a home series, we face a deficit of almost R 300 crore, hence we are keen to have a series in India,” a Board source told the Hindustan Times.

India’s only home series listed so far is against Australia in October which has seven ODIs and one T20I.

However, by inviting West Indies, the BCCI will be deviating from International Cricket Council’s Future Tours Programme (FTP).

“The FTP is made much in advance. We are now looking at finalising the FTP of the 2018 to 2023 period. This (2013) was agreed by the earlier regime in the BCCI and they obviously didn’t put much thought into it. But we have to deal with the situation and see the best interest of the Board,” the source said.

It will naturally come as a big jolt to South Africa board members and India can expect a strong reaction. The full series of three Tests, seven ODIs and two T20s would have guaranteed them their biggest windfall of all their bilateral series.

It does not stop there. The dates of the series will also be altered completely. The big setback in SA’s plan could be that India might not be playing the Boxing Day Test -- the most high-profile event of their calendar. According to the original plan, the first Test of the three-game series was to start on Boxing Day (December 26) at Durban.

“We understand, Boxing Day is an important date for them, but we have our limitations,” said the source. “They might have to fix another opponent for that game.”

Apt farewell for Sachin

West Indies generally is not a big draw anymore. But, this series could be different for the simple Tendulkar factor. The general feeling is that Tendulkar may quit after reaching the landmark of 200 Tests, which will happen during the second Test in South Africa.

But that would mean that the legend’s last Test would not be at home. So the home Tests against West Indies provides the perfect stage for the farewell.