Curtailed India tour a headache for CSA
The Indian cricket team is a massive brand at the moment. Few would argue that they are probably the biggest international brand on the world stage at this given time. Hence all test-playing countries are clamouring for the opportunity to play international cricket against India.
It's easy to understand the incredible appeal that the Indian cricket team has. On the field, the current Indian side is a strong one with exciting players. Off the field, many of the players are very marketable. The following they have around the world is mind boggling.
This fanatical support guarantees full stadiums at all venues across the cricket-playing world. As a consequence the television rights for any country that hosts an Indian team are extremely important. These rights ensure a handsome profit.
Advertising revenue generated from an Indian visit is massive as well. It is no surprise then that Indian cricket is in a very strong bargaining position. They come from a position of absolute strength.
It is no wonder then that CSA were planning an extended visit from one of the strongest and most popular forces in world cricket. Should this visit be curtailed it will inevitably have adverse financial consequences for the game in this country.
From a pure cricketing point of view, a possible two-match test series between the Proteas and India will be better than nothing, but nowhere near as definitive as a three or four-match series. We saw that a couple of years ago when Australia toured here and the two-match test series ended one-all. That result left everyone hungry for a deciding test match.
The three best test teams in the world at the moment are India, South Africa and England. Ideally when those nations play one another, a minimum of three test matches is optimum. India just announced a five-test tour of England, which will be exciting.
If there is an uncomfortable working relationship between CSA and the BCCI at present, one can only hope that this will be resolved amicably. Not so long ago there were a few issues between the BCCI and the ECB over the Champions League and that problem sorted itself out to the extent that the two countries are competing against each other in full tours on a regular basis.
My thought would be that the good far outweighs the bad for both countries when India and South Africa play each another over a period which includes three test matches, some one-day internationals and a T20 series. This will again hopefully be the order of the day soon.