Cricket: Difficult tour talks finally get result

By David Leggat

Martin Guptill. Photo / APN
Martin Guptill. Photo / APN

It may be cold comfort, but the New Zealand cricket team are far from alone when it comes to the difficulty of negotiating with Indian officials.

Yesterday's confirmation that India will play two tests and five ODIs on their visit from late January had been held up for weeks owing to India's refusal to fulfil its Future Tours Programme commitment of three tests, five ODIs and two T20s.

They wanted to be back home in time for an Asia Cup event starting on February 24, at one point hinting they might not bother coming at all.

Finally, New Zealand Cricket has been able to reveal dates for the trip, which backs hard up against the end of the West Indies tour, with venues to be announced in the next couple of weeks.

The West Indies play their last game on January 15 in Wellington; four days later India start their tour. There are no T20s, the focus instead being on the 50-over game, with half an eye on the World Cup in New Zealand and Australia in 2015.

India were expected to be in South Africa, before coming to New Zealand, for three tests, seven ODIs and two T20s.

However the Board of Control for Cricket in India claim the South Africans jumped the gun on the schedule and they have long been at loggerheads with the new Cricket South Africa chief executive Haroon Lorgat after his time at the helm of the International Cricket Council.

That tour is due to start in November, fully two months before they come to New Zealand, and there's no word on the schedule.

What's more, India has unexpectedly announced a home series against the West Indies in that slot - giving the great Sachin Tendulkar the chance to play his 200th test before possible retirement, at home in Mumbai - casting further doubt on what would be a high-profile series in South Africa.

Still, 37 days international cricket, covering both the West Indies and Indian tours, is a decent return for NZC.

The West Indies are an improving side from the ragtag outfit of a few seasons ago; India are formidable.

The prospects are for a bumper summer's viewing.

The New Zealand test squad to tour Bangladesh next month will be named on Friday.

One player who won't be going is batsman Martin Guptill.

Guptill will instead head for surgery on a right ankle injury. He is also nursing a fractured finger after being struck during the Caribbean Premier League last month.

Zimbabwe's players have given the national body until today to make outstanding payments ahead of the start of their test series against Pakistan.

Zimbabwe are only two years on from their return to tests after a self-imposed six-year exile because of the country's failed cricket structure, but the problems that forced them to give up tests in 2005 already are back.

- NZ Herald

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