South Africa’s Boxing Day and New Year’s Test is in jeopardy, due to India’s congested fixture list.
According to indianexpress.com, the popular traditional spectacle which was scheduled for Newlands might not take place, as India feel uncomfortable regarding the time of their arrival to South Africa and insufficient preparation time for the conditions.
This would affect the Boxing Day Test, as well as the second Test from 2 January scheduled for Cape Town.
Considering that Sri Lanka’s tour of India would run until 24 December, the chances of India playing anywhere else before the first week of January looks difficult.
Reports suggest that India will land in South Africa in the last week of December to play four Tests, five ODIs, and two T20s, and it will take a minimum of a week for them to get used to the conditions.
‘We can’t make it make it in time. The Sri Lanka tour ends on December 24. After that, we need to give the boys a few days’ rest,’ a board official told ESPNcricinfo.
‘The South Africa tour is a big one, so they need to play two warm-up games, so it will take at least 10 days [before the first Test].’
CSA are looking at potential one-off Test options, with Pakistan and Afghanistan the two possible options to travel to South Africa, but this is yet to be confirmed.
‘I had been aware of the fact that they were unlikely to be there for Boxing Day, but for them not to be here for the New Year’s Test is a major blow to CSA and the fans,’ said Tony Irish, CEO of the South Africa Cricketers’ Association.
‘To lose Boxing Day is a big thing, but to lose both of them would be a massive hit for the fans.
‘If the India Test matches start much after January 2 or 3, there will be a lot of concern about the players’ workload,’ Irish continued.
‘You really compound the workload issue.’
As per the current calendar schedule, when India leave, Australia play a four-Test series in South Africa, before the players leave to India for the IPL.
If South Africa do find a replacement fixture for Boxing Day, it would see the Proteas play nine Tests in two months.
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