BCCI mangling the FTP with petty scheming

Their key motives are revenue-milking & snubbing South Africa.

BCCI's problems with Lorgat are the reason behind the CSA impasse.

Despite being in the news for all the wrong reasons in recent times, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) still does not hesitate to throw its weight around in the international cricket fraternity.

The latest example is the way the BCCI made a mockery of the ICC's Future Tours Programme (FTP), which had slated a tour to South Africa starting in November.

Instead, the Board has invited the West Indies for a short series — two Test and five ODIs — in the same month.

Not that the BCCI cares too much about West Indies cricket.

The prime motive behind the decision is to encash the brand value of its iconic player — Sachin Tendulkar – and his impending milestone of 200 Tests.

It is guaranteed to add to the already substantial coffers of the Board, and satisfy the egos of the top bosses.

With no home Test series planned for the latter half of 2013, broadcasters had made their disappointment known and the BCCI's masterplan is to kill two birds with one stone.

Calling West Indies for the tour not only means appeasing the broadcasters — who pay crores to the BCCI — but also ensures Tendulkar's 200-Test milestone is reached in India— maybe even at the Wankhede Stadium in his home city of Mumbai.

There is speculation that the first Test will be in Kolkata and the second in Mumbai. Not only are these two of Tendulkar's favourite grounds, but also among the few venues in the country which still see crowds on all five days of a Test — a great revenue collection design.

There couldn't be a better way of earning revenue than having the millions of fans in India watch their 'God' play his landmark Test at home, rather than at Cape Town — the original venue according to the itinerary issued by Cricket South Africa, which was later objected to by the BCCI.

BCCI's disregard for the FTP and the souring of its relations with Cricket South Africa (CSA) was further evident when it chose not to discuss the proposed tour in its working committee meeting, instead finalising a series against New Zealand in January and another one in England in 2014.

This shows BCCI is still upset with CSA for appointing Haroon Lorgat as its chief executive. As ICC CEO in January 2012, Lorgat had asked other Boards to stand up to BCCI's bullying tactics.

Cricket boards around the world see a tour by India as a cash windfall and New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White expressed happiness that India would be playing five ODIs against his team.

"It's brilliant that the Black Caps will be playing five ODIs against the world's top one-day side given the proximity of the Cricket World Cup in 2015," White said, but of course, the revenue would be the chief reason for his glee.

England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive David Collier went a step further.

"This will be the first time England has hosted India in a five-Test series in more than 50 years and the length of the series reflects the iconic status which contests between these two great cricketing nations now enjoy," he stated.

Mail Today's attempts to get a reaction from the ICC on the recent developments proved futile. But a senior BCCI official made things clear.

"Whatever decisions we take are keeping in mind the welfare of our players. If CSA can say that all their decisions are taken keeping in mind the interest of South Africa, why are we being criticised? Also, we haven't said we won't go to South Africa.

There could be a case of playing an ODI series there, before the New Zealand series," he told Mail Today. With the series against the West Indies clearly set to go into the first week of December and the series against New Zealand starting on January 19, there cannot be a full tour to South Africa comprising two T20Is, seven ODIs and three Tests.


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