Haroon Lorgat assures a full-fledged series between South Africa and India
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Cricket South Africa (CSA) CEO Haroon Lorgat assured his countrymen that India's tour of South Africa will be a full-fledged one unlike the events in 2013 when frosty relations between the CSA and the BCCI saw the series curtailed to just 2 Tests and 3 T20Is.
Lorgat did, however, admit that scheduling for the upcoming tour was something the two boards were still holding talks on.
With the traditional Boxing Day Test already shelved, the focus has shifted on ensuring that the South African crowd at least get to enjoy the New Year Test, another festive fixture which the Proteas hold close to their hearts.
"It is still a full tour - there will be no slashing. The actual content is not in doubt; it is just the (start) date and timing that is," Lorgat said.
"It will be a big disappointment for us if it (the first Test) doesn't begin on the 2nd or 3rd. This is not a fixture you should be tampering with because it is one that works. People look forward to that event. It is a sought-after date.
"But the BCCI needs to also deliver their own fixtures, and I guess they'll take the view that they do what is best for them first," he added.
The fixtures Lorgat was referring to are the matches between India and Sri Lanka that has been cramped in what was an already busy home season for the Men in Blue.
While the visit of Australia and New Zealand to India for limited-overs tours was finalised well in time, the BCCI's acceptance of a request from their Sri Lankan counterparts to prepone their scheduled tour in 2018 to November this year, meant that India's tour of South Africa will have a later start date than was earlier anticipated.
The delay has already cost South Africa the Boxing Day Test-- the fixture which generates huge revenue for the board, apart from the sentiments associated with the festive mood-- and efforts are now being made to ensure that the New Year Test doesn't meet with a similar fate.
India's series against Sri Lanka is expected to finish somewhere between December 20 and 23, and with the BCCI making it clear that they would like to give the players a few days off before embarking on the tour of South Africa, Lorgat admits that it is testing times indeed for the CSA.
India's tour of South Africa in 2013 was shortened from its original fixture list of three Tests, seven ODIs and a T20I to just two Tests and 3 ODIs following a long-fought war of words between the top brass of the CSA and the BCCI.
Lorgat, however, insists that the upcoming tour will face no such cuts with the only talking points regarding the schedule.
As per the original schedule, India and South Africa are set to play 4 Tests, 5 ODIs and three T20Is.
The South African players will be involved in the inaugural edition of the Global T20 league prior to the series while India will face Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka at home before their overseas assignment.
As someone who was in the midst of controversy last time around as well, Lorgat has been measured in his response to the confusion surrounding the schedule of the upcoming tour.
The series kicks off with the Test matches, and with the two sides the two highest ranked teams in the format at the moment, CSA wants to ensure that the tie receives the proper billing and finalising the schedule is an important aspect in this regard.
All we can hope is that the two boards zoom in on finalising the fixture soon so that the players can plan accordingly for the tour with no distractions like in 2013.