There is a strong chance that India and South Africa may indulge in a three-match T20I series in late August, subject to government clearance from both countries. The claims the series, not officially part of the FTP, was discussed by BCCI president Sourav Ganguly and Cricket South Africa’s director of cricket Graeme Smith earlier this year in February and was finalised Wednesday.
The news was confirmed by Cricket South Africa (CSA) acting chief executive Jacques Faul, who informed the press about the development Thursday. However, a final approval will only be given as we near August, since the series cannot go ahead if the government of both countries do not give their approval.
“India wants to honour its agreement. If it’s postponed, maybe a bit later,” Faul said a during a virtual press conference on Thursday according to sport24.co.za. “We’ve had a very good discussion with them (BCCI). We’re seeking via Sascoc an audience with the sports minister to be given approval to, if needed, play behind closed doors. This will relate specifically to the potential of an incoming Indian tour.
“We’re going to be very innovative because it’s an important tour for us. As I’ve stated before, we’re very encouraged by India’s willingness.”
India last toured South Africa in early 2018, where they played three Tests, six ODIs and three T20Is. After losing the Test series 1-2, India roared back in the limited-overs leg, registering a resounding 5-1 win in ODIs and a 2-1 win in T20Is.
The return leg took place last year when South Africa toured India for three T20Is last October, a series they lost 1-2. The three ODIs were supposed to take place in February but after the first match was washed out, the series was called off due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, India’s participation may not be as easy as it sounds. A BCCI official, on the condition of anonymity, told PTI: “First, we have to get the players for a conditioning camp in a green zone. Obviously, if things are on track, we would play in South Africa.”
It is believed that the reason India agreed to tour South Africa was to arrest the board’s financial slide. Ahead of the 2019-20 season, Cricket South Africa is estimating losses worth USD 36 million over the next four-year. Provided the tour goes ahead, it might affect South Africa’s series against West Indies which takes place from mid-July. In that case, there is a possibility that the series might be moved to a later date.
“We are working with the West Indies board to try and find a window, post their tour of England, which would shift our dates,” Smith said, as per a report in ESPNCricinfo. “We are looking at all avenues. It seems to be Trinidad is their favoured venue from a playing and a health perspective. Or to a neutral ground. Or playing in South Africa. It’s a time for members to work closely together and try and find a way to get cricket going and to support each other.”