Waiting for the boardroom games to unfold in earnest | india | Hindustan Times
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Waiting for the boardroom games to unfold in earnest

Indian fans are quite used to seeing Ravi Shastri doing commentary at the toss. The South Africans might also have to get used to it. Mike Haysman, the man who usually dons that role here, was asked why he wasn’t there, before the start of the first ODI on Thursday. “Good question, don’t know why,” he replied, before moving away.

india Updated: Dec 05, 2013 23:59 IST
Khurram Habib

Indian fans are quite used to seeing Ravi Shastri doing commentary at the toss. The South Africans might also have to get used to it. Mike Haysman, the man who usually dons that role here, was asked why he wasn’t there, before the start of the first ODI on Thursday. “Good question, don’t know why,” he replied, before moving away.

Whatever the reason behind that, it only underlines Indian cricket’s omnipresence.

Over the past few months, the BCCI’s tussle with Cricket South Africa CEO, Haroon Lorgat, has played out in the open, reaching such a level that there was speculation Lorgat will take a backseat and not even attend matches during this tour, what with the home board extending invitations to top BCCI officials.

Making presence felt
The Long Room here which is the section for VIPs — cricket officials as well as corporate sponsors — had 12 seats reserved for BCCI officials. However, in the first match of the tour, no Indian official attended. Interestingly, Lorgat, who was expected to stay away from these games to keep BCCI happy, was present. He was there in his official capacity and mingled with the corporate sponsors and others.

The Guptas, owners of South Africa’s Sahara business group and one of the biggest sponsors of the game in this nation with stadiums named after them, too stayed away. According to officials here, guests from the Indian board are expected for the second ODI on Sunday.

It’ll be interesting to see whether Lorgat also attends the game in Durban, which is in the Natal province. The Wanderers, home to the Highveld Lions franchise, and SuperSport Park, Centurion, both in the Gauteng province as well as Natal haven’t been too overawed by the BCCI as they are financially self-sustained and strong. The other franchises tend to tow the CSA line.

Not too impressed
Local media recently highlighted how the BCCI had invited former CSA chief executive Gerald Majola to Sachin Tendulkar’s farewell Test in Mumbai. A paper even reported that the return fare was paid for. Majola was kicked out following charges of financial irregularities in connection with the 2009 IPL organised in South Africa, when he headed the board.

The CSA brought in Lorgat to reshape the board despite protests by its Indian counterpart. The invitation to Majola thus hasn’t gone down too well with some sections here. Former South African board chief Ali Bacher too attended the Wankhede Test, but as Tendulkar’s guest. It remains to be seen how things pan out over the next few days considering that this tour is a money-spinner for the home board, which has already made losses in the series against Pakistan.