No way to treat Test cricket

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is cricket’s answer to America in terms of influence.

But even the country with the world’s largest national economy does not always bulldoze its way through like the BCCI does with sickening regularity. This time, the Indian establishment is accused of ambushing a much-anticipated Test series in South Africa.

The South Africa tour consisting of three Tests was to be undertaken by the Indian team, but the BCCI did not finalise the dates with their South African counterparts. After Sunday’s Working Committee meeting, the BCCI announced a tour by the West Indies in November, the same month in which the Indian team would have left for South Africa.

Although BCCI’s elected president N Srinivasan said that the South Africa tour is definitely on, the tour’s significance will be lost with a tweaked itinerary.

Some experts view BCCI’s plan to curtail the South Africa tour as a way of getting back at Cricket South Africa’s chief Haroon Lorgat, who Indian officials did not want to see in his exalted position after he ended his term as International Cricket Council’s chief executive. Another view is that the Board decided to pencil in a home Test series to swell their coffers in these testing financial times.

The scheduling of the West Indies series also provides an opportunity for Sachin Tendulkar to play his 200th Test in India. This won’t do any good for India’s credibility.

BCCI supporters always view criticism from other countries cynically. They would even go on to suspect racism. All this talk must be deemed as sheer rubbish as long as the BCCI continues to disrespect the spirit of cricket administration.

Test cricket is begging for more emphasis. This is no way for the game’s leading country to lead by example.

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