Image courtesy of: The Telegraph
“I don’t think it’s ever right to go back on your word”
Legendary England batsman Geoffrey Boycott believes the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) were wrong to shorten their series against South Africa by scheduling a home series against the West Indies next month and a tour of New Zealand in January.
Boycott also noted that veteran Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar should not have to finish his career with the BCCI and Cricket South Africa at each other’s throats.
India’s tour of South Africa was originally scheduled to consist of three Test matches, seven ODIs and two Twenty20 Internationals, however, due to the West Indies and New Zealand series, Cricket South Africa have no choice but to settle for a curtailed home series, which is only likely to include two Test matches, three ODIs and a one-off Twenty20 International.
“I believe India have to fulfil their obligations,” Boycott told ESPNcricinfo. “South Africa have sponsors. They’ve already said where and when they’re playing. What about their public and their players? Their cricketing public have a right to see India. Putting Sachin’s reputation in this position is unworthy of the BCCI. Sachin is a good guy and a great batsman and he doesn’t deserve a row between two cricketing countries to spoil his big day.”
According to Beeld, which is an Afrikaans daily newspaper, Cricket South Africa stand to lose 300 million Rand if their home series against India is shortened due to broadcasting rights.
“When the BCCI gave their word to play three Test matches in South Africa, I don’t think it’s ever right to go back on your word,” Boycott said. “Whatever the reason, I don’t care what it is. How would the Indian public react if it was done to them? You’ve always got to turn things around the other way.
“And I don’t think it’s good because India is the power of world cricket and they should use that power wisely and be seen as a country that can be held to its word. Had they kept their word, they would have been looked at as the powerhouse of cricket but with integrity.”
When asked whether he thinks Tendulkar would retire after playing his 200th Test against the West Indies in November, Boycott said: “There are three things that will determine his retirement from Tests – his desire, fitness and ability. When I continued to play Test till I was 41, I knew I wanted to go out there and play. I played Yorkshire cricket till I was 46. So the desire was there. Same should be the case with Sachin if wants to play. He has to remain fit.
“However, ability is something that weighs. Your ability to field, judge the length of the ball, it’s like age, creeping up on you. Sachin, with an experience of 200 Tests, will be able to gauge how he is feeling and it will up to him to decide. He’s been a truly great player. He’s been a credit to cricket with his batting and the way he has conducted himself in the public spotlight. He and Lara have been the best in the last 30 years, by far.”