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South Africa may play Tests in India next March

Mumbai: The Indian cricket board is discussing with its South African counterpart the possibility of a three-Test tour by the Proteas to the subcontinent soon after the Indian team’s tour of Australia ends in March.

“We are discussing with the South African board if a three-Test series could be played in India immediately after the Indian team’s tour to Australia ends on March 7,” Niranjan Shah, secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), told IANS.  He said if the talks fructify, the series would be played in India in March-April. South Africa last toured India in November 2004 for two Tests.

Shah also said India could play a one-day international triangular series in Bangladesh in May or June next year. Sri Lanka or South Africa could the third team.

“The Indian team will play the Asia Cup in Pakistan some time in April-May and will then tour Sri Lanka in July-August for three Tests and five ODIs,” he said. Strangely, Test matches between India and Sri Lanka have been ignored in favour of limited overs cricket.

India last played a Test match in Sri Lanka more than seven years ago, in August 2001, while Sri Lanka visited India in December 2005 for Tests after eight years.

“Bangladesh will tour India for Test matches in between somewhere,” said Shah, still not certain of the dates.

Bangladesh has, ironically, never played a Test match in India, the country that successfully supported their application for Test status with the International Cricket Council in 2000.  In seven years, the two countries have played only five Tests, all in Bangladesh.

The main reason for the Indian board ignoring Bangladesh is commercial. It is a well-known fact that a series, especially comprising Test matches, with Bangladesh fetches far less revenue than other countries.

After Bangladesh stunned India in the World Cup in March, their reputation shot up in ODIs. But, in Test cricket, countries still avoid playing them, as they are a weak and low profile team.

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