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September 4, 2010
New Zealand Cricket is bracing for a financial hit in their home series against Pakistan later this year, due to what NZC chief executive Justin Vaughan called a "residual impact" of the spot-fixing controversy.
Vaughan told the Dominion Post that while NZC's earnings from television rights would not be affected, crowd figures and gate earnings could drop. "I can understand the public may not be quite as excited about Pakistan as they otherwise might have been," Vaughan said. Pakistan's tour of New Zealand, which is part of the ICC's Future Tours Programme, will be the only international series of the summer in the country and Vaughan said, "We're kidding ourselves to think that there won't be some residual impact out of all this, which is sad."
Vaughan said the option of inviting teams other than Pakistan for the home series was not being contemplated. "To me the question will be in terms of the strength of the Pakistani team. We certainly haven't looked at any other options in terms of touring teams".
Pakistan's six-week tour begins on Boxing Day and will comprise three Twenty20 internationals, two Tests and six ODIs. "New Zealand will be dead keen to make sure they play at their very best as it is the prelude to the World Cup," Vaughan said.
A few Pakistan players were reported to be in talks with Wellington to play in New Zealand's domestic Twenty20 competition in December. Vaughan said NZC had no objections to any future singings by domestic associations, provided they were convinced that the players being signed were "appropriate". "A blanket ban against Pakistan players doesn't seem to be terribly fair … As long as there doesn't appear to be any reason not to allow them, then I think that's fine."
When asked about the ongoing inquiry against the three Pakistan players - Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir - Vaughan said, "You'd need to understand the personal contexts around each of them, but I think there's got to be pretty low tolerance; really lengthy bans, if not life bans". The scandal had "put a dampener on the game. Cricket's had body blows in the past and bounced back and I'm sure it'll just bounce back from this."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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