Now playing Lorgat vs Srinivasan,India vs South Africa can wait

Differences between officials might reduce marquee contest to a mere 25-day affair.

Written by Sandeep Dwivedi | New Delhi | Published: September 4, 2013 1:40:52 am

What was originally proposed as a two-month long,highly anticipated series between the No.1 Test side South Africa and the No.1 ODI team India might shrink to a mere 25-day affair. And the main reason for the marquee contest being reduced to a frustratingly short skirmish is the long-standing impasse between world cricket’s two highly influential administrators — BCCI’s N Srinivasan and Cricket South Africa’s CEO Haroon Lorgat. Also Read: Backyard venue for Tendulkar’s 200

With the two strong-headed officials not ready to set aside their differences,there has been no official or meaningful exchange between the two boards to salvage the situation,let alone a real effort to give the series the importance it deserves.

It is learnt that Srinivasan and Lorgat haven’t even once had a one-on-one interaction to end the uncertainty over the itinerary. However,those in the know say that Lorgat has been trying his hand at backdoor diplomacy. Also Read: Lorgat ready to mend bridges with BCCI

“Lorgat has been calling a number of important BCCI officials and asking them to reconsider their stand over the South Africa tour. A short tour will result in a big loss for the CSA,” says a top BCCI official. According to the Afrikaans daily Beeld,the CSA would lose close to $29 million if the India tour is shortened.

On the other hand,the BCCI stand to gain a lot after they changed their team’s schedule,intriguingly the decision coinciding with Lorgat,former ICC chief executive,coming to power at the CSA. By inviting the West Indies in November,the month that was earmarked for India’s tour to South Africa tour in ICC’s much-abused Future Tours Programme,the BCCI have made a mess of the CSA’s balance sheet. In cricket economics,dictated overwhelmingly by television money,a home series is always preferred over an away tour. But can the BCCI get away by repeatedly violating the FTP?

“We haven’t really signed the FTP so we aren’t obliged to follow it,” says a leading voice within the Indian board.

It was this very inadequacy of the ICC,whereby the world body’s authority isn’t really binding on member boards,that Lorgat tried to change while he was at the helm of the world body from 2008 to 2012. As expected,Lorgat’s reform didn’t go well with the BCCI,who thought that the Indian-origin South African businessman would be better to deal with than his predecessor,the Aussie lawyer and known India baiter Malcolm Speed.

ICC reforms,an issue

Lorgat,through an governance review done by Lord Woolf,wanted tweak the ICC’s structure. He wanted to curtail the powers of bigger countries and cut down on the benefits doled out to them. India wasn’t ready to let go of the power that it had wrested from the English board.

With Srinivasan being the BCCI secretary at that point,this was to be first chapter of the India-South Africa off-the-field rivalry. India,which once took the lead in welcoming South Africa back into the cricketing fold at the end of the apartheid era,no longer saw the latter as a trusted friend. Lorgat’s another pet project – the Decision Review System — too was shot down by India.

The Woolf report and the DRS could have been Lorgat’s legacy to the game but the BCCI’s opposition had made them cricket’s most contentious changes.

Considering his past with Srinivasan,Lorgat might have found it tough to call Chennai. But couldn’t he have tried connecting to interim chief Jagmohan Dalmiya? Unfortunately,however,the South African isn’t too popular around Eden Gardens either. Especially after the 2011 World Cup.

“He humiliated Dalmiya by taking the marquee India-England World Cup match away from the Eden Gardens. Dalmiya will never forget that humiliation,” says a Cricket Association of Bengal official. Though,Lorgat is said to have called Dalmiya a few times lately,things haven’t moved.

Meanwhile,Srinivasan has too many troubles of his own to intervene in this matter and sort out the itinerary. This clash of ego has resulted in India facing an inferior rival at home and avoiding the exciting challenge of playing a top side away.

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