England in India, 2005-06 February 21, 2006

BBC secure radio deal in India

Cricinfo staff

While the TV rights for England's tour of India have yet to be settled, the BBC has today secured exclusive radio rights for all international matches in India for four years.

"We believe it's vital for cricket that there should be live free-to-air broadcasting, so we're delighted that the BBC's radio services, including the Asian Network, will be offering live coverage from India," Roger Mosey, BBC's director of sport said. "This will be supported by our strong online news service and by reporting across our TV and radio channels."

The BBC's flagship cricket programme, Test Match Special, will broadcast England's tour of India with Jonathan Agnew, Christopher Martin-Jenkins and Simon Mann providing live commentary. Analysis will be provided by Geoffrey Boycott and Sunil Gavaskar.

Meanwhile, negotiations for TV rights are ongoing. The delay stems from the fact that the Indian board only awarded a four-year deal for TV rights on Friday. Nimbus, who paid $612 million for the contract, can now sell secondary rights on the TV, radio and internet.

BSkyB, who have broadcast live coverage of England's overseas matches for over a decade, submitted a $9 million offer to Nimbus which was rejected out of hand on Saturday. Unless Sky increase their bid, coverage for English viewers might be offered to one of the cable networks: ARY Digital, Zee TV or Sony.

England's first Test gets underway at Nagpur on March 1.