South Africa hopeful of India’s visit
South Africa are optimistic about hosting India for three lucrative Twenty20 Internationals in late August, but are trying to find new dates for their proposed tour to the West Indies.
Cricket South Africa (CSA) has already had to postpone a limited overs series in Sri Lanka, but has earmarked the visit by India to raise much-needed revenue.
CSA director of cricket Graeme Smith says the body is in constant contact with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
“We have been talking to them and the commitment is there to get the three T20s done,” Smith said at a news conference on Thursday.
“There is an element of guesswork, no-one knows what things will be like at the end of August. But we believe we are a socially-distanced sport and that we can play behind closed doors.”
A BCCI official on condition of anonymity said that the possibility is “there” provided they get an all clearance from the government of India. “First, we have to get the players for a conditioning camp in a green zone. Obviously, if things are on track, we would play in South Africa,” the official said.
BCCI agreeing to this bilateral series will also mean that they will have CSA’s support if they want to organise the cash-rich IPL in October-November window instead of T20 World Cup.
Considering the fast-evolving situation, CSA has reiterated that the series will be subject to the clearances from the highest authorities of both India and South Africa.
“We’re seeking via Sascoc an audience with the sports minister to be given approval to, if needed, play behind closed doors. This will relate specifically to the potential of an incoming Indian tour,” Cricket South Africa’s acting chief executive Jacques Faul said. “We’re going to be very innovative because it’s an important tour for us. As I’ve stated before, we’re very encouraged by India’s willingness.”
The Proteas were due to tour the West Indies in late July for two Test matches and five Twenty20 Internationals, and Smith confirmed they are looking at all options for those matches, including playing at neutral venues or in South Africa.
Smith expressed his support for BCCI president Sourav Ganguly taking over the ICC chairmanship after Shashank Manohar’s term ends this month. Smith’s comments were supported by his CEO Jacques Faul, who said that they won’t mind an Indian as head of ICC although they need to get a mandate from their top bosses.
Due to current situation, there may be a case of Manohar’s extension for two months but CSA director of cricket Graeme Smith’s open backing of Sourav is the new twist in the story with England and Wales Cricket Board's former chairman Colin Graves being favourite till now.
“From our perspective, it would be great to see a cricket man like Sourav Ganguly maybe getting into the President's role of the ICC,” Smith said. If Sourav qualifies to be a president is a matter og technicality since he hasn't attended a meeting in person.