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I was in Madras for a day to celebrate Pongal when I realized that the BCCI has effectively done away with a tradition which has more or less been in place for well over 50 years. I'm talking about the concept of having Test matches during a festive occasion. For a long time, Calcutta had a Test match around New Year's Day (15 out of the 32 Tests) while Madras had a Test match during Pongal (9 out of the 26 Tests at Madras). I wasn't able to see any particular pattern for Tests at Bombay or Delhi. But at a time when Australia insists on not touring but playing its Boxing Day and New Year's Tests at Melbourne and Sydney, with the rising cricketing (and economic) power that India is being made out to be, shouldn't the BCCI put its foot down and say that the Indian team will not tour any country during specific parts of year? New Zealand and South Africa have Boxing Day and New Year's Tests as well. You seldom see them touring during that period. Admittedly, the fact that all these three countries are in the Southern Hemisphere does make it easier for them to host games during their summer. However the weather in India from July to March is certainly good enough to play Test cricket at home.
Let's assume India hosts 2 teams for 3 Test series each at home as well as a triangular tournament. The first tour could start sometime around the 1st week of October. The first Test starts during Navaratri/Dassehra in some part of North India, say Mohali (Delhi would be a great candidate for a Dassehra Test but unfortunately the Kotla really does suck), around the 10th of October or so. Then there're a couple of 3 day tour games, 1 from the 17th and the other from the 22nd. The 2nd Test starts just before the end of October. The 3rd Test starts from around the end of the 1st week of November. Since Diwali doesn't really have a fixed date and pops in either in the last few days of October or during early November, the Diwali Test could either be the 2nd or the 3rd Test. The Diwali Test could be held at Bombay while the other one could be at say Kanpur/Ahmedabad.
The 2nd tour starts around the 20th of December with a tour game. Then we could have a Christmas/Boxing day Test at Bangalore from the 25th/26th of December. The 2nd Test could start at Calcutta during New Year's time and end around 5th/6th January. Then there'd be a tour game till around the 10th. The Pongal Test at Madras from around the 13th of January would be the last Test in India's home calendar.
There'd be nearly a 1 month gap between the end of the last Test of the 1st tour and the start of the 2nd tour. A triangular one-day series could easily be fitted in that timegap with enough travel and recuperation time for both teams.
Look at the immense tourism potential. By tying in cricket with various festivals, there is an enormous opportunity for the BCCI, the travel industry as well as the hospitality industry to make a lot of money while at the same time creating an awareness of the multiple hues that is India.
The BCCI would need to ensure that India finished its touring commitments by September before the 1st home series got underway and also committed the team to tour only after mid-January. Of course, I know none of this is ever likely to happen. It IS just a random rambling rant.
Amnesty International's report on the death penalty in Singapore urges the government to abolish the death penalty, impose a moratorium on all executions, convert all pending sentences to those of imprisonment, make public the details of those executed, have debates (in Parliament and amongst the public) about the penalty, increase the transparency in the clemency granted, review several laws and acts which have the death penalty as a punishment, ensure that all trials in capital punishment cases observe international standards and ratify international human rights treaties. Singapore though has steadfastly held all along that the death penalty was not a human rights issue.
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