Graeme Smith hopes to finalise India-South Africa series soon; says talks are ‘progressive’

CSA Director of Cricket Graeme Smith. © WCZ  

Cricket South Africa (CSA) Director of Cricket Graeme Smith has stated that talks are ‘progressive’ with the BCCI regarding the women’s tour to India in March. According to reports, South Africa are to tour the Asian country for five ODIs and three T20Is.

“The talks are progressive so it’s still my hope that will be the case,” Smith said during a virtual media conference on Monday (February 15). “We are very keen to provide as much content to our ladies as possible. They lost out towards the end of the last year because of the pandemic and government regulations in South Africa.

“We are working on building a busy FTP for them going forward.  We are in the process of dealing with the BCCI.” The Proteas returned back to international cricket last month when they hosted Pakistan in ODIs and T20Is. Sune Luus and her troops whitewashed Pakistan 3-0 in the ODIs before winning in the shortest format 2-1. Prior to that, all the international players took part in the domestic Women’s Super League T20 tournament.

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Smith also added that CSA has earmarked several non-contracted players and are very keen on increasing the talent pool within the country. “We are looking to increase as much cricket as we can not only internationally but also in the coming season domestically.

“We at CSA have recognised 14 non-contracted players, we need to increase the talent pool, the opportunities for women to play at a level and challenge for national honours. The content at our own domestic hasn’t been enough even though we are growing at a pace, we want to invest in that more,” said the former captain.

“Internationally, almost like the men’s, there are a number of things in the power-plan that we are hoping to sign off very shortly.”

However, things are the same at the BCCI too, with no one being able to clear out what the current status of the series is. The website got in touch with a top BCCI official earlier, who stated that ‘nothing has been discussed regarding the South Africa series’. Speculations were abuzz that the Greenfield Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram is likely to host South Africa.

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Meanwhile, in a recent development on Monday, the Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) has already informed to the BCCI, regarding their inability to host the series. The KCA has reasoned that the stadium authorities have allocated the ground for an army recruitment rally at the same time as the scheduled series, without informing the association.

“KCA had the full support of the Kerala government and the Sports Minister, but schedule clash became the hurdle in hosting the matches. If the state government doesn’t intervene, the Greenfield Stadium will soon become unusable,” KCA president Sajan Varghese and secretary, Sreejith Nair jointly said in the statement. When contacted the BCCI on Monday, the call went unanswered.

India have last played international cricket during the T20 World Cup in Australia in March 2020. Post COVID-19 induced lockdown, the players were in action only in the Women’s T20 Challenge in November 2020 and several invitational club-level tournaments.

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