Nearly 11 years after playing his 100th Test abroad, decks were cleared for Sachin Tendulkar to make his 200th appearance at home.
On Sunday, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) approved a November home series against the West Indies during their emergent working committee meeting here, paving the way for Tendulkar to make it a perfect home farewell if he wants to.
While the duration of the tour isn’t confirmed, India might play two Tests and five One-day Internationals against the West Indies. “The tour, programme and fixtures committee will finalise the schedule this coming week,” said Ratnakar Shetty, BCCI’s general manager, game development, after Sunday’s meeting.
Also approved were the tours of New Zealand for two Tests and five ODIs in January-February next year and that of England for five Tests, five ODIs and a Twenty20 international from July to September.
However, there was no official word from the BCCI regarding the South Africa series. Interim BCCI chief Jagmohan Dalmiya however said that the series is still on. “It’s just that series wasn’t discussed during the meeting but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen,” said Dalmiya.
The Proteas were originally scheduled to play three Tests, seven ODIs and two T20Is against India but with the New Zealand series now slotted in January and West Indies to play in November, it leaves only December for the South Africa series to materialise. This indicates the South Africa tour could be heavily chopped.
In all probability, announcing the tour schedule could be delayed to as late as November. While Cricket South Africa (CSA) CEO Haroon Lorgat is the oft-mentioned reason behind BCCI’s issues with South Africa, there is also the case of Dalmiya who is still licking his wounds over the shifting of the 2011 World Cup fixture between India and England from the Eden Gardens while Lorgat was International Cricket Council (ICC) CEO.
Video: Sachin Tendulkar to play 200th Test at home pitch
By approving a short West Indies series at home, the BCCI is set to not only gain from revenues but it also guarantees nearly-full houses for the two Tests at a time when attendance has been sharply falling in the longest format of the game in India. Reason: Tendulkar achieving a feat that might not ever be surpassed.
India have missed out on a few of Tendulkar’s specials, be it his 100th Test that was in the Oval or his 100th century that came against Bangladesh in Mirpur. While it’s not known when Tendulkar wants to retire, the West Indies series could be viewed as an attempt from the BCCI’s part to make his last playing days memorable.