Jaco Van Der Merwe

By Jaco Van Der Merwe

Head of Motoring

Let’s toast friendship with some fireballs

Here we go again. All bow down to the mighty gods the Indian cricket bosses think they are.

Similar to four years ago, when a never-ending spat between Cricket South Africa (CSA) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India led to India’s tour of South Africa being cut to a ridiculous two Tests, rubber-stamping the upcoming summer series in Mzansi has been stalled forever.

It feels like ages ago CSA finalised the Bangladeshi tour, which starts next week, and hosting Australia who are only due in March and April. It should be a very straightforward process actually, like in the painless way these two tours were planned. You owe us a visit, we play so many matches, here are the dates. Finish and klaar. Not quite when the all-important India are involved it seems.

With the traditional Boxing Day Test already out the window because of the decision by the self-appointed masters of the cricket universe to entertain lowly Sri Lanka over December, the New Year’s Test is also now in jeopardy.

See, our esteemed guests have indicated their desire for their precious players to get some down time (an organic straightening for Ishant Sharma’s locks and a beard hair socket treatment for Virat Kohli perhaps?) in the days following their imminent humiliation of their hapless neighbours. And then they refuse to stumble into a foreign series without the proper preparation suited for demi-gods of course.

The talk around the campfire is that the first Test will be pushed back to January 5 or 6, but even that seems slightly unrealistic taking their high demands into account. I mean, India’s series against Sri Lanka finishes on December 24.

Even if they get all the players out of the spa by let’s say, December 29, it will take them a day to get here, they will need a few days’ practice and at least a three-day warm-up match, which can’t finish before January 3 and then at least another two to three days before the first day of the first Test. This means our kind subcontinental friends, who were the first team to tour here after readmission in 1992 in the ironically named Friendship Tour, have messed up both the Boxing Day and New Year’s Day Tests, both iconic events on the local cricket landscape.

Yes I know there was talk of getting Zimbabwe or Afghanistan to fill in, but spare me the embarrassing detail. Can you imagine India doing this to Australia? Sorry mate, we have hastily arranged some nilly-willy matches at home, we can’t be at your party before mid-January.

Not in a million years. Then why should they feel the right to mess South Africa around at their leisure? Bottom line is, proceedings against Australia get underway on March 1 and it will be a massive push to fit in all four Tests, five ODIs and three T20s against India in the proposed time frame, which will mean something will have to make way somewhere and we will lose much-needed revenue. Exactly like last time.

However many Tests we manage to fit in, I just wish someone from over here has the balls to instruct some nasty green mambas so we can skittle them for scores of 60 and 80 and embarrass them good and proper.

Wasn’t it the very same India who made those dodgy deteriorating pitches for us back in 2015? Time to return the favour.

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