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Cricket SA set to lose revenue with shortened India tour

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With the arrival of the Omicron variant, it looks as if the Covid era may never fully end. Fans from both India and South Africa were desperately awaiting India’s tour of South Africa which was to start from the 16th of December but the news of the Omicron variant put everything into concern. While the Indian management was probably more worried about the virus threat than the financial loss it would incur, the Cricket South Africa officials were mostly concerned about the financial loss they would suffer rather than the virus itself, if India abandons the tour, for which they would not be blamed at all by any cricketing body.

As reported earlier, Cricket South Africa is in dire need of financial assistance. Their cash reserves are reportedly around R121 million in 2021, much less than R1 billion from 2015. Like Australia and England, if India would have pulled out of the tour, the CSA would have been starting at a loss of R700 million.

Credits must be given to the BCCI for not pushing the panic button and cancelling the tour altogether. Doing so would have been disastrous for CSA. While the rescheduled shortened tour will cause a loss of around R100 million to CSA, the R600 million expected revenue from the 3 ODS and 3 Tests will keep them floating in a stable condition. A Friday meeting between the CSA and BCCI officials went in with plenty of discussions, mostly hovering about the security aspect and findings of the new strain of the virus and one can say that CSA would have been convincing to the BCCI or else the BCCI wouldn’t have given the nod to the tour.

While BCCI may be portrayed by some countries as a bully, multiple tours can be recounted where they nod the tour in order to benefit the host nation. During 2009, BCCI agreed to plenty of bilateral tours with Sri Lanka as the neighbouring country was going through a tough time.

India also agreed to an only test match with Afghanistan in 2018 which certainly gave limelight to Afghanistan cricket. In 2021, the Indian Team sent a second-string team, as the main players were engaged with the WTC final and England tour. India could have easily postponed their Sri Lankan tour citing the disruption due to covid and putting other tours in priority, and yet they fielded their B-team who did not disappoint at all. They were also requested by the Sri Lankan cricket board to play T20s, which they fulfilled. Even the T20s that India was supposed to play SA, have simply been postponed and not eliminated.

With the nod given by the BCCI, everything looks settled, and all eyes will be on 26th December when the two teams would clash at SuperSport Park, Centurion. The revenue may not have lured India to the SA tour as much as the desire to win their maiden test series. India has produced a number of greats but the current team has an opportunity to do what no previous team has been able to achieve in the last thirty years.

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