“This is a huge blow not only to the players but also to the cricket-loving public of South Africa,” Saca chief executive Tony Irish said in a statement.
“Everyone is now deprived of a meaningful series, especially in the Test format, between the world’s top two cricket nations. I don’t see how this can possibly be in the interests of either cricket in this country or of the global game. Cricket is the loser, plain and simple.”
Irish was reacting to CSA’s bowing to pressure from the BCCI to not only agree to a two- instead of three-Test series tour, but also to suspend CSA’s chief executive Haroon Lorgat from any further communications between the organisation he heads and the International Cricket Council as well as the BCCI.
The shortened tour, which would also include three one-day internationals (ODIs), already means a loss of revenue, with CSA standing to lose approximately R200 million.
However, a total cancellation of the tour would have put huge financial pressure on the organisation, which had budgeted for revenues of R500m banking on a three-Test series as well as seven ODIs and three Twenty20 matches.
“In addition CSA will suffer massive financial losses which will affect players, cricket programmes and cricket development at all levels in our country,” Irish said. “It’s a very sad day when international cricket becomes more about what happens off the field than what happens on it.”
The only positive to emerge was the stated commitment of both CSA and the BCCI to continue with good faith discussions over the possibility of agreeing further scheduled fixtures between the two teams, he said.
“At the very least, the players and the fans of both countries deserve that and should be entitled to hold the two boards to this commitment.”