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West Indies to squeeze year-end India tour into schedule

Little rest for the weary.

Little rest for the weary.

West Indies cricketers’ hectic domestic and international season looks likely to get even more so in a few months.

And apart from the financial windfall that is likely to accrue to all concerned, it seems the tour could be a case of accommodating a milestone for India’s greatest ever cricketer.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India is trying to squeeze in a series against West Indies at home in November this year. The board, in its working committee meeting, have reportedly decided to invite West Indies for a series of two Tests and five one-dayers.

In a media release, the BCCI stated: “The BCCI Working Committee has approved a proposed home series against the West Indies in November 2013.”

The BCCI claimed that they received an e-mail from their West Indian counterparts who expressed an interest in travelling to India for the series.

If the West Indies give the nod for the series, it will give their ageing master batsman Sachin Tendulkar a chance to complete the historic milestone of playing 200 Tests in front of home fans. Mumbai, his home ground, and Kolkata, are the likely venues for the much-anticipated matches and the final decision will be taken by the BCCI’s tours and fixtures committee.

“We have sent a proposal to the West Indies Cricket Board in this regard. We are hopeful of working out the modalities for the series,” a top BCCI official said.

This development comes as both New Zealand Cricket and the West Indies Cricket Board have already released details of a West Indies tour of that country scheduled to begin at year’s end.

The West Indies will play three Tests, five one-dayers and two T20s during their first visit to New Zealand for five years in December and January, immediately after the India tour.

The West Indies have so far been involved in the ICC Champions Trophy in June; the Tri-Nations series involving Sri Lanka and India in June and July; and the Pakistan series also in July. West Indies also hosted Zimbabwe in February for two Tests, three ODIs and two Twenty20s. They also visited Australia in February for a five-match ODI series.

All the leading West Indies players with the exception of Ravi Rampaul were also just involved in the inaugural Limacol Caribbean Premier League, privately managed but with the sanction of the West Indies Cricket Board. The 2013 slate of international cricket comes after a Test and ODI series in Bangladesh in November and December 2012. Several of the West Indies top cricketers are also weeks away from traveling to India for the Champions League.

The plan for the West Indies series was announced after the BCCI’s working committee meeting yesterday. Though the BCCI did not specify the number of matches that will be played, it is understood that the WICB has been offered two options. “The tour could see either two Tests and three ODIs, or three Tests,” a BCCI official said.

As important as the series is from the Tendulkar angle, the BCCI was also concerned about a possible dip in its revenues for the current financial year since, after the limited-overs series against Australia in October, India weren’t scheduled to play at home for the rest of the financial year.

“That would have meant lesser gross revenue, and profits as a result, than the last year’s,” an insider said. “And it is something that none of the stakeholders in Indian cricket would want.”

Similar to England tours, Indian tours are the most lucrative for the West Indies Cricket Board.

Meanwhile, the Indian Cricket Board did not have any discussions regarding the schedule of the South Africa series and there are reports emerging that the tour has been put on hold.

BCCI’s media release stated that the board also approved India’s series against New Zealand in January-February and the series against England in July-September 2014, but there was no mention of the series against South Africa.

“India’s tour of New Zealand for two Tests and five ODIs in Jan-Feb 2014 and tour of England for 5 Tests, 5 ODIs and 1 T20I in July-Sept 2014 was approved,” the release stated.

The BCCI official said the working committee did not talk about the South Africa series, which India need to finalise after rejecting the itinerary proposed by Cricket South Africa.

Speaking after the working committee meeting, BCCI president, N Srinivasan dismissed speculations of the tour being scrapped, mentioning that there were no discussions held regarding the SA series.

I’ve not said that the South Africa series will be scrapped. It’s definitely on. We have just proposed a West Indies series in November. Neither there was any discussions on the South Africa series nor any members raised any questions on the series.”

There was no immediate reaction from Cricket South Africa regarding the developments. “We’ve not had any communication from the BCCI about our tour or the West Indies series. Till we speak to the BCCI officials, we will refrain from commenting on this,” Haroon Lorgat, CSA president said. (WG/cricinfo)


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