BCCI rules out SA tour; Smith backs Sourav for top ICC job - GulfToday

BCCI rules out SA tour; Smith backs Sourav for top ICC job


CSA’s acting chief executive Jacques Faul told a virtual media briefing that the BCCI is keen to honour its commitment to tour the country. Reuters

With news coming in that Cricket South Africa (CSA) has expressed confidence that the Indian team will tour the Rainbow Nation in August for a bilateral series, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has said that it is quite difficult for the Men in Blue to travel to South Africa for a series in August.

Speaking to IANS, a BCCI official said that considering the current situation, it will not be possible to travel for the series to South Africa as there are players in the team who haven’t had proper training sessions in the last 50-60 days.

“See, this is not really possible. Fitness training is one thing and training with the bat and ball is a completely different thing.

“We have guys who haven’t touched a bat or ball in a training environment in the last 50-60 days.

“How do you expect them to go out and play international matches? Yes, they have been doing their best to keep their fitness level up to the mark set by our trainers, but batting and bowling sessions will be needed.

“Yes, like we have said before, the BCCI will honour all its bilateral commitments and if not currently, then as is suitable to both parties involved. But a series in South Africa in August is quite difficult,” the official said.

Cricket South Africa has said that they are optimistic about hosting India for three T20Is in late August. CSA director of cricket Graeme Smith said that they are also in constant touch with the BCCI regarding the same.

“We have been talking to them and the commitment is there to get the three T20s done,” Smith said at a news conference on Thursday.

“There is an element of guesswork, no-one knows what things will be like at the end of August. But we believe we are a socially-distanced sport and that we can play behind closed doors.”

CSA’s acting chief executive Jacques Faul told a virtual media briefing on Thursday that the BCCI is keen to honour its commitment to tour the country.

“India wants to honour its agreement. If it’s postponed, maybe a bit later,” Faul said. “We’ve had a very good discussion with them.”

Interestingly, India’s last international assignment which got interrupted due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus was against the Proteas in mid-March. While the first game was washed off in Dharamsala, the next two games in Lucknow and Kolkata were called off.

Meanwhile, South African director of cricket Smith on Thursday made a strong call for India’s Sourav Ganguly to be the next chairman of the International Cricket Council.

Smith said he believed Ganguly, a fellow former Test captain and current Indian board president, was the right person to lead the game at a time of crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is very important to have the right person as head of the ICC,” said Smith.

“Post-COVID, cricket will need strong leadership and it is time for someone close to the modern game with leadership credentials to get into the position.”

Shashank Manohar, the current chairman of ICC, also from India, said last December that he would not seek re-election when his term expires at the end of May.

Speaking in a tele-conference, Smith made his call for Ganguly’s election after Cricket South Africa interim chief director Jacques Faul said plans for South Africa to host a three-match Twenty20 series against India in late August remained on track, although it would require approval from both governments in view of COVID-19.

Faul said that the dates could change and that “if necessary” the matches would be played without spectators.

Faul said that he welcomed Smith’s call for Ganguly to head the ICC, but cautioned that it was not yet official policy endorsed by the CSA board.

Dr Shuaib Manjra, CSA’s chief medical officer, said a T20 series would be an ideal opportunity to create what he described as a spectator-free “bio bubble” in which the health of players and officials was paramount.

He acknowledged that under current conditions, a 14-day quarantine period, both before and after a tour, would be necessary for players.

Smith said a planned South African tour of the West Indies, scheduled to start in July, was likely to be delayed, depending on the finalisation of plans for the West Indies to tour England. He said it was possible that matches could be played at neutral venues. “Nothing is cast in stone at the moment,” he said.


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