India's tour of South Africa | Boxing Day Test out, New Year's doubtful

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India's tour of South Africa | Boxing Day Test out, New Year's doubtful

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SportsCafe Desk


India’s Boxing Day Test against the Proteas has been ruled out as the Men in Blue would struggle to reach South Africa after their preceding series against Sri Lanka ends on December 24. Moreover, the second Test of the series, on New Year's Day, at Newlands is also in danger of being pushed back.

"We can't make it make it in time. The Sri Lanka tour ends on December 24. After that we need to give the boys a few days' rest. The South Africa tour is a big one, so they need to play two warm-up games, so it will take at least 10 days [before the first Test]," a BCCI official told ESPNCricinfo. 

Once the series does get underway though, the Men in Blue are scheduled to play four Tests, five ODIs, and two Twenty20 internationals in the African country. But the BCCI have already informed Cricket South Africa (CSA) about the touring difficulties and the two boards are expected to address the issue next week, ESPN added.

Moreover, CSA have accepted the fact that India won’t be able to make it for the Boxing Day Test and have already started looking for alternatives to stage a one-off Test, with Pakistan or Afghanistan reportedly being the two possible options, but details are yet to be confirmed. However, CSA are still trying to convince the BCCI to send the team for the New Year’s Test as failure to do so would be a "major blow" for South Africa as the match coincides with the holiday season. 

"I had been aware of the fact that they were unlikely to be there for Boxing Day, but for them not to be here for the New Year's Day is a major blow to CSA and the fans," Irish said. "To lose Boxing Day is a big thing, but to lose both of them would be massive hit for the fans," said Tony Irish, the head of the South African Players Association.

In response to India’s need to getting acclimatized to the conditions, Irish suggested that India could play a solitary two or three-day game ahead of the first Test, but the BCCI said that the team can’t be forced. The reason why CSA don’t want India to delay the series is that as soon as India depart, South Africa are scheduled to host Australia for a four-Test series before the players arrive in India for IPL 2018. Moreover, if CSA do manage to find an opponent for the Boxing Day Test, that would imply nine Tests crammed inside a two-month period.

"If the India Test matches start much after January 2 or 3, there will be a lot of concern about the players' workload. You really compound the workload issue," Irish added and CSA has made a note of his point. 

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