All Indian cricket followers are aware of the upcoming tour to South Africa, one of the most difficult places to tour in world cricket, especially if you are the Indian team. There has been a lot of coverage about how BCCI had not agreed to the itinerary and the same was unilaterally announced by the South African cricket board. Then came the real reason that BCCI didn’t get along with Haroon Lorgat because of his actions when he was the chairman of the ICC. There were even reports that the BCCI didn’t want him to be selected for the post of chief executive of South Africa cricket board. That’s what is called interference. However, that’s not the point. What if the Haroon Lorgat is just a scrape goat? What if the real reason is something else? Here is what I feel could have happened..
The original tour itinerary was supposed to have 3 tests, 7 ODIs and I believe 2 T20’s (not sure of the T20’s). The reduced tour itinerary now stands at 2 test matches and 3 ODI’s and no T20’s. Have we heard of any series where we don’t have T20’s? Post which India is supposed to travel to New Zealand to play 5 ODI’s and 2 test matches until end of Feb 2014. There is also World T20 World cup in March 2014. So there was no home test at least for the next 6 months. I am not sure if many people remember, around the time of July/ August that there was speculation in the media that selectors have asked Tendulkar to make up his mind and retire. Obviously, selectors simply denied it. Probably this gave BCCI the idea, to create this entire ruckus around Haroon Lorgat and not agree to the itinerary announced by the South African cricket board (CSA). After all how can they allow Tendulkar to play his last test in a foreign country? They would have probably also asked Tendulkar whether he intended to be around for the next season. I am thinking, Sachin, most likely, said “NO”. Now as a board, you cant have the best player this country has ever produced to retire in some other country and miss out the revenue his retirement would generate? I am guessing not. So what did BCCI do? They started looking out for teams who are free to play during the month of November and when they found out West Indies were available, offered them truck loads of money (we all know how starved of cash the Windies board is) and announced the series – which is now being marketed by Star Sports. Obviously, Sachin retiring is a huge event and BCCI is milking it to the maximum. I would have preferred Sachin retiring while facing the fastest bowler in the world, on the top of his game, in a foreign country with bouncy pitches rather than face a team who will hardly provide any challenge. I am not sure this is the type of send off Sachin would have wanted for himself – for the Lion, even though old, is still the king of the jungle.