India in Australia 2011-12 February 7, 2012

'Mouthwash' ads land CA in hot water

Mouthwash or tobacco? That's the big question facing Cricket Australia

Mouthwash or tobacco? That's the big question facing Cricket Australia, and they've decided to play it safe: the Australian board has pulled Hindi advertisements displayed at the grounds during the series against India, after being alerted that they could be promoting tobacco. Tobacco ads would reportedly fetch CA fines to the tune of Aus $66,000, since they breach the local tobacco advertising ban that was implemented in 1992.

"We asked [the Indian government's] advice because we are not familiar with the Hindi language," a CA spokesman said. "They came back and said it's an Indian mouthwash - or at least they said it's not a tobacco product. We don't have one million per cent certainty about all of the detail. It appears that there is a tobacco company with the same or similar brand name to the product that is being advertised. We have just become uneasy about it and said, let's withdraw this."

So you might see blank boards along the boundary starting with the India-Sri Lanka one-dayer in Perth on Wednesday. But CA is not in the clear just yet, with Australia's health minister Tanya Plibersek saying the government has taken up the matter with the board.

"The Gillard government has received a number of complaints alleging that advertisements for tobacco products have been displayed at cricket grounds," Plibersek told News Limited newspapers. "The government is taking the allegations very seriously and has written to Cricket Australia seeking detailed information about the advertising."

Nikita Bastian is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo