Cape Town – It is “scandalous” that Newlands has lost its
traditional New Year Test match because of the severe shortening of India’s
summer tour of South Africa.
Fans slam 'disgraceful' CSA
So says Mark Nicholas, one of the game’s most high-profile
television personalities because of his role as host of Channel 9’s cricket
coverage in Australia.
The former Hampshire batsman, who was master of ceremonies
at Mark Boucher’s tribute dinner in Johannesburg on Wednesday, said in his
column on www.espncricinfo.com on
Thursday that “a much-loved tradition” over New Year in Cape Town would not
take place because of India’s refusal to accept the original (fuller) tour
“South Africa mourns for the New Year Test ... instead the
BCCI (India’s controlling body) hurriedly convened two Test matches at home
against West Indies and will go to New Zealand in the New Year – South Africa
get to fill the little window in between, small beer for the No 1-ranked team
in the world.
“The game is about the players and those who pay to watch
them, not the administrators. It is scandalous that Cape Town has lost the
match and that SA cricket will lose a great deal of money because of it.
“The job of administration is to act as a conduit between
the product, which is the game in whatever format, and its audience. The
boardroom is not a place for self-interest – though you would barely believe it
in cricket’s hugely political marketplace.”
Nicholas said South Africa may feel India still owes them
after the Indian Premier League bailout (CSA took over the event at short
notice) of four years ago.
“During that period the South African public wrapped its
arms around an Indian tournament, while the South African administrators moved
mountains to accommodate the complicated needs and responsibilities of the
“Grounds were clean of advertising and sponsorship, and
corporate facilities were turned over to Indian guests ... the thank you for
that is a kick in the teeth now.”
Nicholas described as “ridiculous” the stand-off between
CSA’s CEO Haroon Lorgat and the BCCI, which is seen as the major cause of the
“Given India’s immensely powerful position in world cricket,
many South Africans pre-empted the appointment of Lorgat as unwise (after his
clashes with the BCCI while ICC CEO – Sport24). Better to massage the great
Indian ego than take it on, in other words.
“Frankly, everyone pays lip service to the BCCI, whether
they like to admit it or not. Money talks and India has it spilling from every
“India are the one-day world champions, a top-three Test
team, and must-see T20 outfit. They are led by the incomparable MS Dhoni,
cricket’s most charismatic face.
“All of which makes them a hit at the box office. There is a
price to pay for their appearance, which is as it should be ... but commitments
should be honoured, not reneged upon.”
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writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing