TOI had reported on Wednesday the possibility of three Test matches being reduced to two while the white-ball matches remained on schedule. India and South Africa were scheduled to play three Tests, three one-dayers and four T20 Internationals.
“We might request CSA to postpone the series by a week and will then declare the schedule,” top BCCI sources said on Thursday afternoon, once again underlining the possibility of going a Test short.
If one Test is indeed removed from the schedule and India play only two, the BCCI is likely to honour its agreement with CSA by agreeing to play a set of T20 Internationals – most likely five – next year.
BCCI sources say they understand their commitment towards international boards and will take every possible step to safeguard their interests, like was the case when India toured Australia against all odds in November last year and sent an alternate squad to Sri Lanka this year despite the spike in Covid cases.
CSA’s financial health depends a lot on this India tour and the BCCI says it understands the implications very well along with the fact that it needs to stand with all its stakeholders.
The Indian team is getting ready for the second Test match against New Zealand and there is little time for the BCCI and the players to sit across the table and discuss the tour. Therefore, the BCCI wants the team to finish playing the second Test without getting bothered with the hassle of thinking about the tour.
Post the Test match, the BCCI will talk to the players and explain the protocols and procedures being put in place for the tour. In all likelihood, the series will go on to include two Tests (instead of three) and the white ball matches as scheduled.
The two boards could put a three-day warm-up match in place ahead of the series.
If India played three Test matches in South Africa, Kohli’s 100th would’ve come in Cape Town.
However, should they now play only two Test matches in South Africa, skipper Virat Kohli – who is scheduled to play his 97th Test match at the Wankhede against New Zealand starting Friday – will play his 100th against Sri Lanka at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore, a city that’s practically become his second home.
That’s a rarity because not many Indian cricketers who achieved this feat had the opportunity to play the 100th Test at their home ground. Former India great Dilip Vengsarkar played his 100th at the Wankhede.
The first two Tests were scheduled in Johannesburg and Centurion, a drive away from each other while the third Test and the white-ball matches were scheduled in Cape Town and Paarl, again within a short driving distance. If one Test now gets cancelled, it is likely that India will play the two Test matches at Johannesburg and Centurion and then fly to Cape Town only for the white ball matches.