The landmark Test may happen in Mumbai.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has plans to host the West Indies in November, a move that serves two purposes. Firstly, it keeps up the BCCI's recent hostility towards Cricket South Africa (CSA), and secondly, the West Indies series allows Sachin Tendulkar to complete two hundred Test match appearances at home.
Whether Tendulkar will tour South Africa afterwards, or if that tour will materialise at all, is unclear at this point even though the BCCI president N. Srinivasan insists the tour has not been scrapped. India are also slated to tour New Zealand in January and February, and later England in the summer. [Read the full report of the BCCI working committee meeting]
The BCCI has taken a hard line towards South Africa who had recently appointed Haroon Lorgat as their CEO. Lorgat, in his earlier capacity as the chief executive of the International Cricket Council, had given the BCCI heartburn over matters as wide-ranging as the DRS to the organisation of the 2011 World Cup.
India were to begin their tour of South Africa for seven ODIs, three Tests, two T20s and a handful of practice games in the second week of November. The tour was scheduled to conclude on January 19 with the Cape Town Test, but the BCCI wants the itinerary reworked and has been sitting on it for months -- a tactic that has caused great annoyance to South Africa.
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Hindustan Times reported that after the BCCI’s relationship with CSA turned icy, it was proposed the tour be cut down to three ODIs, two Tests, two T20s. To hurt South Africa where it really hurts, the BCCI are also planning to cancel the Boxing Day Test, a move that will hit their pockets hard since it is among the most celebrated fixtures of that country's sporting calendar.
Shortening the South Africa tour would help India fill the month of November with a home series, and that’s where the West Indies comes in.
“We have sent a proposal to the West Indies Cricket Board in this regard. We are hopeful of working out the modalities for the series,” a top BCCI official was quoted as saying by PTI at the end of a BCCI working committee meeting in Kolkata on Sunday.
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However, the BCCI official also said the working committee did discuss the South Africa itinerary having shot down the original plan proposed by CSA.
BCCI president N. Srinivasan, who was present at today's meeting, said the tour has not been abandoned. “I’ve not said that the South Africa series will be scrapped," Srinivasan said today. "It’s definitely on. We have just proposed a West Indies series in November. Neither there was any discussions on the South Africa series nor any members raised any questions on the series.”
Coming back to Tendulkar, the master batsman who turned 40 in April, is batting on 198 Tests. With the West Indies series, he will become the only man to play 200 Tests.
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It is likely that Tendulkar’s home ground, the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, would host one of those two games. What is still unclear is if Tendulkar, whose form and fitness aren’t as ripe as his age, would call time on a glorious international career of 24 years.
He had in December retired from one-day internationals with 463 appearances, 18,426 runs, 49 hundreds and 96 fifties, all records. Tendulkar had skipped several games in the latest edition of the IPL after suffering an injury to his hand.
He has undergone surgery in London and declared himself fit and available for the upcoming Champions League T20 where he would turn out for the Mumbai Indians.
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