Cricket

India fears SA fans’ anger

2013-11-28 14:10
Newlands Cricket (Gallo)

Cape Town – South African cricket enthusiasts may take out their anger with the Indian cricket authorities on the touring national team shortly, an authoritative Indian cricket website has warned.

The Indian team, World Cup champions and No 1-ranked in the one-day international arena and second on the Test ladder to the Proteas, arrives shortly for the controversially abbreviated trip, starting with the first of three ODIs at the Wanderers next Thursday.

Anand Vasu, managing editor of www.wisdenindia.com has written on the site that “while the biggest challenge will remain the atmospheric and ground conditions”, the Indian side could face a different hurdle too.

“In South Africa, the anger over the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) decision to curtail the tour ... has not died down.

“It was initially hoped that the South African public would have had enough time to go through the phases of shock, outrage, resignation and finally acceptance, by the time the actual tour rolled along.

“Speaking to friends in South Africa, especially those in Cape Town, who feel that they have been robbed their marquee New Year’s Test at lovely Newlands, it is clear that the wounds are still raw.

“Although the target of the anger remains the BCCI, there is the serious risk that fans will take this out on the team that takes the field ... it’s not unheard of for a visiting team to be treated in a hostile manner by a home crowd, but usually it’s an on-field incident or an offhand remark from a player that sparks this.”

Vasu said that the SA tour could thus “prove a completely new experience” for some of India’s players.

“With no BCCI officials in sight to take offence with, it’s not unimaginable that the fans will train their sights on the cricketers: the reality is that the team, the board and country are different entities, but in practice it isn’t going to be easy for the average fan to distinguish between the three.”

He wrote that an environment “filled with negativity, hurt and anger” was possible and urged Indians to brace themselves, “for it may not always make for pretty viewing”.

While they are understandably wary of biting the BCCI hand that feeds them, some of the Indian cricketers themselves have publicly expressed “regret” with the shortened itinerary.

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

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