Even as Cricket South Africa (CSA) publicly announced an out-of-FTP home T20I series against India, slated for August, board's Indian counterpart, the BCCI, wasn't so optimistic of the trip happening on time.
Apart from the travelling restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, lack of proper skill-based training before the series for Indian players is expected to be another roadblock, told a BCCI official close to the development to IANS.
"See, this is not really possible. Fitness training is one thing and training with the bat and ball is a completely different thing," said the official. "We have guys who haven't touched a bat or ball in a training environment in the last 50-60 days. How do you expect them to go out and play international matches?"
"Yes, they have been doing their best to keep their fitness level up to the mark set by our trainers, but batting and bowling sessions will be needed."
"Yes, like we have said before, the BCCI will honour all its bilateral commitments and if not currently, then as is suitable to both parties involved. But a series in South Africa in August is quite difficult."
The series was announced on Thursday (May 21) amid cricket's global shutdown, with CSA director of cricket, Graeme Smith, saying Proteas are quite optimistic of having Indians arrive on their shores later this summer and he has been in constant touch with the Sourav Ganguly-led BCCI regime over the same.
"We have been talking to them and the commitment is there to get the three T20s done," Smith told reporters. "There is an element of guesswork, no-one knows what things will be like at the end of August. But we believe we are a socially-distanced sport and that we can play behind closed doors."
CSA acting chief executive Jacques Faul informed that the BCCI is keen to go ahead with the series, even if it takes place at a later date.
"India wants to honour its agreement. If it's postponed, maybe a bit later. We've had a very good discussion with them," said Faul.
India's own home ODI series against South Africa, due to be played mid-March, was suspended in mutual agreement by CSA and BCCI. It remains to be seen whether that will be rearranged in the new FTP post the pandemic.
(Inputs from IANS)