Assessing Cricket South Africa's Relationship with BCCI

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Assessing Cricket South Africa's Relationship with BCCI
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Cricket South Africa and the Board of Control for Cricket in India go way back. When South Africa were allowed to return to international cricket, after 20 years in the wilderness, it was India who first hosted them. The two boards have had much success between them since then, but things seemed to have gone slightly sour as of late.

The two sides are currently at loggerheads over their summer tour, which was due to begin on November 21. That is no longer possible as India have shoehorned in an additional series against the Windies which will only end on November 27. 

The drama started when Haroon Lorgat was appointed CSA's president. According to a report on Cricinfo, the BCCI do not like Lorgat very much and have made that much clear since the governing body were considering him as their new CEO candidate.

The report says:

Lorgat, a former ICC chief executive, had been CSA's preferred candidate from the outset but it did not appoint him until it discussed the implication of the decision - which the BCCI indicated it would strongly object to - for cricket in the country.

The BCCI's specific opposition to Lorgat has not been made public but Basson confirmed he heard that the board wanted charges of misconduct investigated against Lorgat during his time at the ICC (it is on record that Srinivasan raised this particular issue during an ICC board meeting). Basson had approached Lorgat about the issue and was satisfied with the response he got.

It's a far cry from the days when CSA stepped in at the last minute to host the IPL, with the frequent one-off T20s the two sides play against each other and CSA's stake in the Champions League T20 seemingly made redundant by the appointment. Since the announcement of the tour itinerary for India's visit to South Africa, there has been huffing and puffing. 

Here is a timeline of events:

July 8 2013: Cricket South Africa announces a bumper summer schedule with seven ODIs, two T20s and three Tests to be played across the country.

July 8 2013: BCCI objects to the SA tour itinerary, saying they were not consulted and fixtures were released without their consent.

Silence for a few weeks

September 1 2013: Uncertainty remains when the BCCI announce a number of other series, but do not mention the SA tour. The fixtures for these tours are not released yet. 

September 2 2013: India announce their tour to New Zealand has been brought forward and will now 
begin on the day their final Test against South Africa was due to end. 

September 4 2013: A two-Test series against the West Indies is confirmed. These dates clash with the SA tour schedule. 

September 4 2013: After Haroon Lorgat offered in July to "apologise" to the BCCI and Jagmohan Dalmiya, the interim BCCI chief, said he welcomes the offer.

September 6 2013: Haroon Lorgat will meet BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel in Dubai in mid-September to "work out the best possible schedule."

September 16 2013: Haroon Lorgat and Sanjay Patel meet on the sidelines of the ICC chief executives' conference. 

October 8 2013: BCCI invite CSA to have talks around the schedule. Only Cricket South Africa president, Chris Nenzani, is invited. Not Haroon Lorgat.

October 12 2013: The meeting is concluded, but no conclusion is reached and the impasse carries on.

October 17 2013: CSA say they could send Haroon Lorgat on "long leave" during the course of the tour in order to ensure the BCCI do not need to deal with him.

 

The latest news is that a schedule is expected to be announced before the end of the weekend. Why exactly everything went haywire between the two is not clear. However, it seems far too petty that the squabble is merely over one man with his fingers in a number of pies.

What is also a concern is that the BCCI are not making as much money as they were before. Their year-on-year revenues are down, Airtel didn't renew it's sponsorship and were replaced by Star Private. Their 2013-'14 fixtures have gone to Star at an estimated cost of $322,000, almost $241,000 less than their previous agreement with Airtel.

While the CSA vs. BCCI impasse certainly is an entertaining cricket soap opera, it certainly isn't the only issue in what is an interesting web of complications. Maybe, just maybe, some have underestimated CSA. Only time will tell.

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