Cape Town – A new season, another threat to the headline
home international feature of the summer.
That is the situation Cricket South Africa finds itself in
as a revolt in already shaky West Indies cricket puts in potential jeopardy the
Caribbean team’s fairly lengthy tour here in the prime months of December and
With the World Cup the jewel in the crown of the southern
hemisphere cricket roster for 2014/15 (from February), the Proteas are
scheduled to only entertain the Windies for bilateral combat this season –
three Tests, five one-day internationals and two Twenty20 internationals.
But although several weeks still lie ahead for the West
Indians’ sensational mid-tour pullout revolt in India to be settled, CSA
officials are sure to be nervously awaiting any positive signs of olive
branches between the West Indies Cricket Board and their best players, who have
angered superpower India by their actions.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is spitting
mad over the stoppage of the current visit after only four of five scheduled
ODIs, with three Tests and a T20 international supposedly to follow, and have
threatened to sue the WICB over the loss – a figure of US$65-million has been
It is an all-West Indian rumpus complicated by the fact that
the players who had been engaged in the Indian matches are at odds also with
Wavell Hinds, leader of the West Indies Players’ Association (WIPA) that
supposedly represents their interests.
A spokesperson for CSA told Sport24 on Monday that they are
“waiting for a meeting between the players and WICB to take place” before
deciding on their plan of action “if required”.
Any threat to the tour is the last thing CSA wants, bearing
in mind last season’s similar crisis over the Indian tour here, which was also
set to occupy some of the best real estate on the summer roster until the BCCI
brutally cut short the proposed itinerary to take away, for instance, the
ever-popular New Year Test at Newlands.
There is some irony in the fact that the BCCI is now in
dispute with West Indies cricket, after inviting them to play a poignant part
in legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar’s swansong last year, which was one
reason they slashed the SA safari.
If the current contretemps in Caribbean cricket – no
stranger to instability – drags on for weeks and begins to seriously threaten
the SA tour, CSA will have a problem trying to fill the void.
International teams fill up their December-January periods
well in advance, and no obvious alternative incoming tour option seems
available to South Africa.
Pakistan and New Zealand are in action against each other in
November and December, India are down to tour Australia, and the Black Caps are
also scheduled to entertain Sri Lanka over the prime holiday period.
England play an ODI-only series of matches in Sri Lanka that
is wrapped up by mid-December, making them potentially available ... but they
are due to have a full tour of South Africa in 2015/16.
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