Bigger India series for SA?
Gary Kirsten (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Moves are thought to be afoot to expand the Test portion of India’s full tour of South Africa next summer.
In an initiative that will please followers of the purest form of the game, Sport24 understands that Cricket South Africa are in talks with the Indian authorities concerning stretching the Test series from three to four matches.
As things stand on the International Cricket Council’s Future Tours Programme (FTP), the teams are due to play three Tests at the height of the 2013/14 season here, as many as seven one-day internationals, and two Twenty20 contests.
But now the programme may be revised - presumably with some pruning of the ODI agenda - to feature four Tests.
My understanding is that CSA are keen to maximise resurgent public interest in Graeme Smith’s currently No 1-ranked Test side, and enlarge the home Test programme for 2013/14 from six to seven Tests - Australia are also due here nearer the end of the season for three Tests.
After the current series against Pakistan is completed, the Proteas have a hiatus in Test activity for several months.
Following the postponement of the Test series in Sri Lanka during the SA winter - it will exclusively involve limited-overs activity now - the Proteas only return to Test action at the start of the 2013/14 season in October, and that is initially away to Pakistan in the neutral United Arab Emirates.
They are significantly overdue to play a “proper”, extended series involving more than three Tests - even when they rose to and then settled at No 1 with rousing, successive series wins away to old enemies England and Australia, each time the itinerary was limited to three Tests.
Smith dropped heavy hints as to the planning for the Indian visit - almost certain to be Sachin Tendulkar’s final tour of these shores if he is even still playing by then - at his captain’s press conference at Newlands on Wednesday.
Asked if he was disappointed at the lengthy gap for his rampant Test charges after the end of the home obligations against Pakistan, he replied: “You get to know how schedules work ... some years there are more Tests, others more ODIs and T20s; it has its ebbs and flows.
“Yes, there’s a bigger break this year, but (the Emirates) will be a big challenge for us as No 1; I expect those conditions to spin.
“There’s talk of the India series now having more Tests in it, so that’s exciting.”*Follow our chief writer on Twitter : @RobHouwing