Cricket: Black Caps to continue Indian tour

By Andrew Alderson in Kolkata

The New Zealand cricket tour looks set to continue.

A report emerged yesterday that the tour had been cancelled but it appears to be myth.

The Black Caps are set to head to Indore, the venue for the third test, on a chartered flight this afternoon Indian time.

The claims of a curtailment came after Justice LM Lodha's committee directed banks to freeze some accounts of the BCCI, Indian cricket's ruling body.

According to the Indian Express newspaper, a senior board official said: "We have no option other than to call off the India-New Zealand series as our banks have decided to freeze BCCI accounts. We don't want India to be humiliated in front of the world. How can we function, how can we hold any games now? Who will make the payment? Freezing a bank account is no joke. An international team is here, and there is so much at stake."

That appeared to be somewhat of an exaggeration when it was revealed the Lodha Committee had not asked for all BCCI's accounts to be frozen, but only two specific payments from the board to its state associations.

They stressed payments for other routine affairs - such as organising cricket matches - could go on as per usual.

A well-placed Indian-based source told NZME the tour "would not be cancelled" and New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White said all elements to the story had been news to his organisation.

"As far as we're concerned, we're planning to travel on a plane tomorrow to Indore for the third test," he told NZME.

New Zealand coach Mike Hesson said they had heard nothing to the contrary, "Apart from a few partners at home thinking we're going back early".

The Star Sports television crew was also booked to go to Indore as host broadcasters.

The BCCI has been in an ongoing battle with the Indian courts following the release of the Lodha Committee report in January. The committee recommended a complete overhaul of the way the sport, sometimes described as a religion in the world's second-most populous country, was run by the BCCI.

The BCCI has often been described as an oligarchy, with allegations of nepotism and corruption rife.

The committee recommended, among a host of other things, that ministers and bureaucrats will not be allowed to hold positions on the board, or those holding positions in their state associations or those above 70 years of age.

The BCCI appealed a number of the recommendations to the Supreme Court, however they came back and said all recommendations, not just a cherry-picked few, would have to be implemented.

With the BCCI having missed deadlines to implement change, Justice Lodha ordered the banks to freeze accounts, hence the Black Caps finding themselves in the middle of a political situation, none of it their making.

The third test starts in Indore on Saturday with India winning the series 2-0 in Kolkata.

- additional reporting Dylan Cleaver

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