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January 21, 2007
Australia and India could meet in a one-day series in North America this year with New York and Toronto shaping as the likely venues. But player workloads and the suitability of grounds mean the planned venture is no certainty, according to Cricket Australia.
Michael Brown, CA's operations manager, said India had approached Australia with a proposal for the limited-overs series. "You never say never but details at this stage are sketchy," Brown told The Sunday Mail.
Another possible stumbling block in the negotiations could be wrangling over the percentage of revenues to be shared between the two boards, with Australia reportedly demanding an equal share and the Indians demurring. Australia's tight schedule features a trip to Zimbabwe in June, between the World Cup in March and April and the Twenty20 world championship in September.
"There is also the issue of player leave," Brown said. "So there are a few things to consider. India wanted to hold a tournament similar to the one we had in Kuala Lumpur."
A bilateral contest between India and the world's number one team is aimed at capitalising on India's lucrative pay television market, with each of the planned seven games expected to generate up to $6 million. A triangular contest would mean lesser returns for each participant and the possibility of a relative lack of viewer interest if India fails to reach the finals, as happened in the DLF Cup in Malaysia in October. The BCCI reportedly sold the offshore television rights for each game in the series that featured India for $US5.8m but had to offload the Australia-West Indies matches for only $US1.2m.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that India held the upper hand in negotiations as other nations would jump at the opportunity should Australia pass up the chance. But it also suggested the Indian board was desperate to play Australia if they hoped to raise $42 million from the series.
It's believed an indoor NFL stadium in New York would host the games, meaning the matches would be played on a synthetic pitch. But Brown had his own doubts. "I'm not even sure whether they would have a suitable ground in New York," he said.
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