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With Lorgat out of the way, India to play 2 Tests, 3 ODIs in South Africa

India's tour of South Africa will go ahead, officials announced Tuesday, but Cricket South Africa (CSA) chief executive Haroon Lorgat has been "withdrawn" from India-related matters.

A joint statement issued by CSA and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said their sides will now play two Tests and three one-day internationals, although the dates and venues have still to be announced.

The tour that had been in limbo ever since July after CSA unilaterally released its itinerary, a move which miffed the BCCI. The Indian Board was also not too happy with Lorgat's appointment as CEO. The BCCI's uneasiness with Lorgat stemmed from the somewhat frosty relationship that the BCCI shared with him during his stint as the International Cricket Council (ICC) CEO due to their differences over a number of issues. 

Haroon Lorgat
Haroon Lorgat

Matters came to a head recently when CSA's former legal adviser David Becker, allegedly at the behest of Lorgat, accused BCCI President N Srinivasan of being manipulative. Becker had accused the BCCI -- cricket's wealthiest national board and one on which other countries depend for finance as a result of lucrative broadcast income arising from India tours -- of breaching rules regarding the ICC's Future Tours Programme.

The BCCI-CSA statement said the ICC has now decided to investigate the matter, including Lorgat's reported role, even though Becker has maintained that the views expressed were completely his own.

The joint statement from both the boards, which followed discussions between the two boards during the recent ICC meeting in London, said Lorgat would have a reduced role in CSA's dealings with the BCCI and would stand down from the ICC's chief executives' committee while the global governing body "investigated" his conduct.

Furthermore, "the findings and recommendations" of the ICC investigation will be "binding" upon CSA, the statement said.

"The agreement to tour was concluded by the two boards after various concerns were raised around the recent ICC board meeting in London about the alleged conduct of CSA's chief executive, Mr Haroon Lorgat, and recent comments made about the ICC Board by a former legal advisor to CSA, Mr David Becker," the joint statement added.

"The ICC and CSA have already refuted the comments made by Mr Becker, and the ICC is now considering its legal options in respect of the same.

"In addition, the ICC will convene an investigation by an independent third party (to be appointed by the ICC) into the content and distribution of the media comments, subsequent attempts to have them withdrawn, and, in particular, the role of Mr Lorgat in relation to these matters.

"Pending the outcome of this investigation, CSA has ordered the withdrawal of Mr Lorgat from representing it at the ICC's Chief Executive's Committee (or from acting in any other ICC-related matters), and CSA has also withdrawn him from having involvement in any aspect of CSA's relationship with the BCCI, including but not limited to the upcoming tour.

Becker, in a statement published by South Africa's Business Day newspaper on October 10, slammed BCCI president Narayanaswami Srinivasan's influence on world cricket.

"There is one man (Srinivasan) who makes decisions at (ICC) board level and they are certainly not in the interests of world cricket," Becker said.

"It's not only hugely concerning for the game, it's contrary to the regulatory framework within which ICC operates, and hence illegal."

Becker later insisted Lorgat and CSA had "nothing to do with my comments".

Earlier this month India's Supreme Court reinstated Srinivasan as the country's cricket chief, but ordered him to stay away from a fresh inquiry into alleged spot-fixing in the Indian Premier League.

India's tour had been scheduled to start on November 18 and was due to include three Test matches, seven one-day internationals and two Twenty20 internationals.

But doubts about that schedule emerged when the BCCI announced arrangements for an incoming tour by the West Indies and a tour of New Zealand which clash with the beginning and end of the fixtures published by CSA.

The two-Test series against the West Indies is set to see India national hero Sachin Tendulkar, the highest run-scorer in Test history, play his 200th and final Test before retirement. 

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