Cricket Business : Huge blow for Cricket South Africa, BCCI says ‘no commitment to SA tour’

This news will come in as huge blow for Cricket South Africa’s commercial fortunes. The BCCI has not made “any commitment” to tour South Africa in August and there have only been discussions about such a possibility, Board treasurer Arun Dhumal said on Friday, denying Cricket South Africa’s claims of a confirmation.

CSA Director of Cricket Graeme Smith and Chief Executive Jacques Faul on Thursday said that India has agreed to tour the rainbow nation for three T20 Internationals in August, signalling resumption of cricket in the post COVID-19 world. But Dhumal disagreed.

“When South Africa’s tour of India got cancelled due to coronavirus, we had discussions that if there is a possibility, we will make an effort to tour South Africa. But at no point have we made any commitment to Cricket South Africa about touring in August,” Dhumal told PTI in an exclusive interaction.

The senior BCCI office-bearer then said that unless the government clears international travel, BCCI won’t be in a position to make a commitment to any country.

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“Right now, we can’t even commit that we can tour Sri Lanka in July followed by (short T20 series) in Zimbabwe. Both these tours are part of the FTP programme and we are still not sure what the situation will be in two months, so how can we commit on South Africa tour?” Dhumal asked.

Cricket South Africa will lose millions if India does not tour

“For us, the big due date is end of August, if India does not come we will lose millions” – Dr. Jacques Faul, Acting CEO of Cricket South Africa (CSA) made this statement to highlight the importance of India tour of South Africa for 3 T20 games in the month of August. Such is the importance of this tour for CSA finances that Faul went to the extent of saying that no India means huge trouble for CSA.

“We haven’t lost content yet, but if India doesn’t come here it is $10m, and that is R180m lost. Then you have to see how your sponsors pay or don’t pay. I think our trouble is still in the mail. The challenges are on the way,” Faul had said this few days back.

Why the 3 T20 matches tour by India is so important for CSA

Reason 1 – The said tour was never part of the future tour program (FTP). The tour was actually set up by newly appointed Director of Cricket Graeme Smith and acting CEO Jacques Faul on a recent trip to India in the month of Jan-Feb. The tour was weaved in with BCCI so that it can support CSA’s dwindling finances.

Reason 2 – InsideSport has reliably learnt that on the back of this tour Cricket South Africa could crack a broadcast partnership with Star India for the territory of the Indian Sub-Continent.

Reason 3 – CEO Faul has openly admitted that through this tour CSA will earn in tune of R180 – R195 million (USD 10-11 million). The international public demand for matches involving India means that each T20, according to Faul, could generate between R60 – R65 ($3 to 3.5) million for CSA’s coffers.
“That’s the big one for us,” Faul said.

BCCI Official : ‘Come and support us on ICC, we will play the series’
On a different note, when asked about CSA Director of Cricket Graeme Smith’s supprt to Sourav Ganguly’s candidature for the ICC chairmanship, Dhumal said it would be good for global cricket if an Indian is at the helm.

“There has been no formal discussion in BCCI about ICC chairmanship. Graeme Smith obviously spoke in his personal capacity which is not CSA’s stand,” he said.

CSA President Chris Nenzani refused to endorse Smith’s support for Ganguly in a statement issued on Friday. “As far as the BCCI is concerned we would certainly like an Indian to lead the global body and our president has credentials obviously. But again we haven’t yet discussed it,” Dhumal said.

However, a BCCI veteran who has interacted with Nenzani, said that the cash-strapped Proteas should only get a commitment if it backs the BCCI view on ICC policies.

“We will definitely play SA series but there should be riders. Is CSA with India on ICC policy matters? With Chris (Nenzani), you would want a full commitment on paper and then proceed. It’s CSA which is desperate for a three-match T20. So they have to decide how they want to play it at the ICC,” the veteran official said.

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