India South Africa

India and South Africa are set to play a curtailed series © Getty Images

Johannesburg: Oct 22, 2013

The South African Cricketers’ Association (SACA) today described the curtailed India-South Africa series  as a sad day for the sport and said cricket in the country would be at an overall loss due to this decision.

Putting an end to weeks of speculation, the BCCI on Tuesday, gave its consent to India’s tour after Cricket South Africa (CSA) withdrew its CEO Haroon Lorgat from not just its dealings with the Indian Board but also the ICC Chief Executives Committee pending an enquiry into his actions.

“It’s a very sad day when international cricket becomes more about what happens off the field than what happens on it,” said SACA’s chief executive, Tony Irish.

“This is a huge blow not only to the players but also to the cricket loving public of South Africa.

“Everyone is now deprived of a meaningful series, especially in the Test format between the world’s top two cricket nations. I don’t see how this can possibly be in the interests of either cricket in this country or of the global game. Cricket is the loser, plain and simple,” he said.

Irish also lambasted the decision of a shorter tour for the financial impact it will have on players and development.

“CSA will suffer massive financial losses which will affect players, cricket programmes and cricket development at all levels in our country,” Irish said.

“The only positive to emerge today is the stated commitment of both CSA and the BCCI to continue with good faith discussions over the possibility of agreeing further scheduled fixtures between the two teams.

“At the very least the players and the fans of both countries deserve that and should be entitled to hold the two boards to this commitment,” Irish concluded.

In a joint statement, CSA and BCCI announced a series comprising two Test matches and three One Day Internationals, the specific dates and details of which will be announced in due course.

CSA also announced that ICC chief executive Lorgat has been withdrawn from acting in any ICC-related matter or “from having involvement in any aspect of CSA’s relationship with the BCCI, including but not limited to the upcoming tour.”

Lorgat was at loggerheads with BCCI during his tenure at the ICC.

The tour that had been in limbo ever since July after CSA unilaterally released its itinerary comprising three Tests, seven ODIs and two T20s, a move which miffed the BCCI.

Commentators here have also voiced concern about the closing remarks in the statement, which says that “all parties have agreed that this investigation will be carried out in private, that no further media comment will be made until it has been concluded, and that its findings and recommendations will be binding upon CSA.”

Concerns included why there was only reference to the outcome being binding only on CSA and not on BCCI as well.