CHENNAI: India’s home season this year was supposed to have one full series against Pakistan and a limited-over contest involving Australia. The team was supposed to depart for a long tour of South Africa in December.But, these are only assumptions. Instead, the BCCI — since formulating its own home season two years ago, like Australia and England — has tried to cash in on as many matches as possible.
And this season will witness two high-profile series involving Australia and New Zealand before Sri Lanka visit Indian shores yet again for a full series that includes ODIs, T20Is and Tests. Overall the Indian team will feature in 23 matches from September to December.
But the catch here is that India, as reported by this newspaper in the past, is highly unlikely to depart for South Africa before the last week of December.By doing so, it has also gate-crashed Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) plans. For the first time, despite being in the country, their home team will not play the traditional Boxing Day Test, starting on December 26.
South Africa have as a matter of policy chosen to play at home from December-January, except for the year they go to Australia. “We decided a couple of years back that the Indian team should play as many matches as possible at home so that our fans can get to see their players in action. South Africa tour can still start towards December end, but it will be touch and go. But departing late doesn’t mean we will shorten the series as the Test series has an icon tag to it and we would always honour our commitments,” a board official told Express on Tuesday
The dates for none of these home series have been finalised, as the BCCI will draw up the schedule after taking the festival period into account.As far as the Australia series goes — it includes five ODIs and three T20s — it will be the traditional centres which will host the high-profile contests. Chennai, Bengaluru, Nagpur, Indore and Kolkata will get the 50-over clashes. Hyderabad, Ranchi and Barasapara Stadium in Guwahati — set to become the latest international venue — will witness the T20Is. Thiruvananthapuram’s Greenfield Stadium is the other new venue which will host a T20 involving Sri Lanka
With key Pune, Mumbai, Kanpur, Delhi, Cuttack and Rajkot getting dates for the New Zealand series, the BCCI had no other choice than using rotation policy to award the Tests against Sri Lanka to Nagpur, Delhi and Kolkata. Nagpur, Mumbai, Indore and Delhi will host the Indian team twice this season.