September 19: Cricket South Africa (CSA) CEO Haroon Lorgat has confirmed that South Africa will play on Boxing Day, despite India not touring till early 2018.
While the content of India's tour - four Tests, three one-day internationals and three Twenty20 internationals - was agreed upon some time ago, the commitments of the two teams has left a short window in which to complete the games. "We need to secure it first", ESPNcricinfo quoted Lorgat as saying.
The Indian cricket team will start its new year with a tour to South Africa, which is likely to commence on 5 or 6 January in Cape Town.
Lorgat also said a Test match is preferred over other formats for the last week of the year.
CSA was keen on having the first Test from 4 January to ensure maximum gate money, considering the match is usually a sell-out during the holiday week in South Africa.
Negotiations have been complicated by the fact that Australia will be playing a four-match Test series in South Africa, starting on March 1, which makes the time frame for the India tour a tight one.
The South African CEO said that the first prize for the boxing day would be a Test match and not a limited overs encounter. However, it still remains a popular television event. "I'm hoping we can make some announcements towards the latter half of this week", said Lorgat. West Indies are the other team available during that period, unless CSA reach out to Test newcomers Afghanistan or Ireland.
Despite holding discussions since the beginning of the year, CSA and BCCI are yet to finalise the schedule. But with BCCI being adamant to spoil SA's party, India's home season was stretched till December 24, thus forcing CSA to look for either hosting Pakistan or Zimbabwe for an one-off Test to continue their long tradition.
According to a BCCI official, India are expected to arrive in South Africa in the last few days of December and would surely play one practice match ahead of the opening Test. If there are four days between every Test, the ODI and T20s might get congested in order to fit in everything.
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Gerrit Cole, who is tied for 10th in home runs allowed this season with 30, had never given up more than 11 in a single season. There are 108 players with 20-plus home runs this season, three short of tying the record set a year ago .
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