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Cricket Broadcasting: Mixed Signals

I read yesterday, with limitless glee, that the Afro-Asia Cup and the masala matches in Ireland had all been canned due to, get this, the broadcasters not wanting to get within cooee of the events. I never thought that I would live to see a day where the BCCI was told, in no uncertain terms, to shove it. The bruises are a testament to the pinches I inflicted upon myself to ensure that the news was not merely a fantastic dream.

Alas, as with everything the Lalit Modi and the BCCI lay their grubby hands on it turned out to be another series of false promises - from the TV executives this time.

For the ill-informed, the sequence of events goes something like this:
  1. Nimbus withdraws from the nonsensical Afro-Asian Cup citing the absence of the superstars from the Asian line-up. To me this news is akin to a 100% pay rise, if for nothing else, then the reason that someone has finally put the BCCI in its place. .
  2. Zee TV deliberately forgets to pay the advance on the rights it purchased to broadcast the utterly irrelevant Irish triangular series.

Unfortunately, my celebrations have proven premature as I now learn that both series are back on the front-burner. ESPN Star Sports has pounced on the Afro-Asian series and Nimbus has taken Zee's place in Ireland.

For mine, these goings on have a rather obnoxious odour about them. Nobody seriously believes that ethics play a large part during commercial discussions undertaken by the BCCI, however these manoeuvrings reek of underhand deals and discussions.

In a legitimate and logical commercial setting, no rights owner would have placed any faith in Nimbus after the company's withdrawal from the Afro-Asian series. Surely Nimbus had concerns pertaining to the absence of star quality after its experience with the Afro-Asian series. In this context, what assurances did the BCCI provide Nimbus to solicit an assurance that it would not back out of the Ireland series?

Furthermore, did this new agreement include any clauses that required the specific participation of a player, or a group of players, thereby reducing the national selectors to the level of mere pencil-pushers?

I, presumably like you, do not trust a word that is discharged from the mouth of a BCCI official nor do I have a shred of faith in the structure (or lack thereof) that is applied to seal these miraculous deals, when all else seems lost.

All that I can hope for now is a strong and logical player's association that will have the courage to strip the BCCI of its arrogance and ignorance by refusing to allow its members to participate in daft and senseless masala matches.

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