Sachin’s 200 at core of SA tour scheduling rumpus? Geoff Boycott thinks so

2013-09-13 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Outspoken cricket analyst Geoff Boycott believes Indian batting superstar Sachin Tendulkar’s looming 200th-Test milestone is the root of the dispute over that country’s summer tour of South Africa.

Tensions between new Cricket South Africa CEO Haroon Lorgat and bosses from the Board of Control for Cricket in India — dating back to Lorgat’s stint at the International Cricket Council helm — are widely thought to be primarily behind the Indian threat to severely curtail the intended visit.

But in his regular comment spot on www.espncricinfo.com, former England batsman Boycott, who has a big following in India and lives in the Western Cape, says the tour has been “caught in a storm because of Tendulkar … and really it’s not his fault”.

Boycott believes the spat is about the 40-year-old batting maestro, because the BCCI want to curtail the intended three-Test series in South Africa and play a home Test — against hastily-arranged new tourists West Indies — to coincide with Tendulkar reaching the unique 200-game landmark.

“There’s nothing wrong with that when you’ve got someone playing 200 Tests. It is enormous and he’s been a fantastic player, but here’s my point about this … Tendulkar didn’t ask for this, above the game; that’s not right.

“When the BCCI gave their word to play three Test matches in South Africa, I don’t think it’s ever right to go back on your word.”

Despite Boycott’s claim, the BCCI insist that their CSA counterparts acted prematurely and without full Indian approval in revealing the supposed itinerary a few weeks back.

“Whatever the reason [for the possible culling of tour matches], I don’t care what it is,” Boycott said.

“How would the Indian people react if it was done to them?

“I don’t think it’s good because India is the power in world cricket and they should use that power wisely and be seen as a country that can hold to its word.

“I believe India have to fulfil their obligations. South Africa have sponsors [and] their public have a right to see India.

“Putting Sachin’s reputation in this position is unworthy of the BCCI — Sachin is a good guy and great batsman and he doesn’t deserve a row between two cricketing countries to spoil his big day.”

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