CHENNAI: India’s fixture for the South Africa series hasn’t been released yet and it has a lot to do with Virat Kohli’s side’s preparation for the Tests. Kohli & Co have made it clear to Cricket South Africa (CSA) that they want a 12-day window for preparation after they reach South Africa. But CSA, pressed for time to squeeze in the entire four-Test, three ODIs, three T20s series in a 50-day window, is not keen to give India that much time for preparatory games.
South Africa will start their series against Australia on March 1 and they are not in a position to give the entire January-February window -as demanded by BCCI -to India. “India finish their series with Sri Lanka on December 24 and can reach SA only by December 27. They are not ready to play the first Test before Jan 10,” a source close to the developments said. South Africa, on the other hand, already are losing out on the Boxing Day Test. But they are not ready to forego the New Year Test, another prime attraction in their calendar. “But the Indian team has also made it clear that they are not going to start a Test match within five days of their arrival. They are going to SA to be competitive,” the source added.
The Board has informed CSA about their decision and the South African board has to revert on the issue. “It is upto them to come up with the probable permutations and combinations and let us know how they are going to deal with the situation,” the source added. If in the process CSA schedules the ODIs and T20s before the Test series, they will end up giving India too much scope to acclimatize for the five-day version. “We would be surprised if they do that, we are waiting to hear from them before the announcement of fixtures,” the source added.
In India’s absence, CSA is looking at options to stage a one-off Test for the Boxing Day against Pakistan or Afghanistan.