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June 17, 2008
Roddy Smith, the chief executive of Cricket Scotland, has expressed his disappointment at the fact there is likely to be no television coverage of this summer's ODI fixture between Scotland and England.
Smith, who has been working with the ECB in an attempt to secure a TV deal for what he describes as the "biggest match" in his organisation's history, at the Citylets Grange in Edinburgh on August 18, is now almost resigned to the prospect of the game being ignored by broadcasters, in much the same fashion as Scotland's newly-completed rugby tour of Argentina.
"Sky had first refusal, but they have a lot of other cricket commitments in August, so have decided not to pursue their interest in the game, whilst the BBC are dedicating so many resources to their coverage of the Olympic Games [in Beijing] that they are not able to fit us into their schedules," said Smith, who further revealed that the cameras will be absent from his country's meeting with New Zealand in Aberdeen next month.
"We are still talking to [satellite company] Setanta, but the SPL will have started again by the time the England team come up here, and the chances in that direction are receding. It is disappointing, because there is obviously an awful lot of interest from the public on both sides of the Border over the Scotland v England contest, and, as matters stand, the only people who will see the game are the  spectators who come to the Grange on the day. We appreciate, though, that the BBC have a massive commitment to the Olympics, and they will be covering all the action on radio, in the shape of Test Match Special, but clearly, it would have been good if they could have shown it on television too."
Smith, ever the diplomat, is entitled to be quietly furious at this turn of events. After all, the BBC screened full coverage of last year's meeting between Ireland and England, and it seems frankly absurd that they have ruled out any involvement in a match which is certain to generate significant attention from the cricketing sphere and also the wider world. It isn't even as if the match will clash with any major weekend pursuits, because the likes of Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood and possibly Andrew Flintoff will lock horns with Ryan Watson on a Monday, but the decision appears to be cut and dried.
Smith also confirmed that the Scotland squad for the triangular series involving Ireland and New Zealand will be announced at the end of this week and he is hopeful that the Scottish trio, Kyle Coetzer, Navdeep Poonia and Calum MacLeod, will be released by their counties (Durham and Warwickshire) to participate in the brace of ODIs.
Graeme Smith was the last of South Africa's old guard. The roots of the new one need to grow deeper