India rejects CA’s lucrative counter offer
CRICKET Australia offered to gift India a bonus one-day international clash that would have generated millions of dollars in return for rescheduling next week's series outside of the Australian summer.
The left-field play by CA chief executive Kevin Roberts was a last-minute negotiation tactic as CA came to grips with the prospect of its superstars flying overseas in the middle of January.
Playing a fourth blockbuster ODI at home against Australia would have been an unexpected financial bonanza for India.
But the Board of Control for Cricket in India rejected the proposal, flexing its muscle and ordering the Aussies to honour their three-match ODI deal that begins on Tuesday.
The BCCI was plagued by instability at the time and acting leader CK Khanna's team did not have the power to strike a deal with Roberts.
Since then Sourav Ganguly has been appointed BCCI president.
Roberts - who last month lauded Ganguly's "innovative thinking" - and CA chairman Earl Eddings are off to India, where they will hold high-powered talks with the BCCI.
The Aussies arrived in Mumbai on Friday night with a full-strength squad for the heavyweight series.
India and Australia were by far the most dominant teams in the group stage of last year's World Cup, finishing first and second on the ladder only to be eliminated in semi-finals.
"There's never an ideal schedule," Australia's caretaker coach Andrew McDonald said.
"But India in India, the guys are really excited, we won there last year, so we're looking forward to a great challenge.
"There's those people out there that say the Australian summer should be protected or whatever, but we do get one-dayers when we return from South Africa, against New Zealand.
"So we'll get our fix of one-day cricket in our summer, albeit a little bit later than what we're used to."
It was CA's previous regime that was ultimately responsible for Australia going on tour in January in a set of circumstances that are unlikely to ever be repeated.
The series looms as win for New Zealand Cricket, which will host India in five T20s, three ODIs and two Tests in a tour starting on January 24.
The New Zealand-India series faced a considerable reduction if other parts of the calendar shifted around.
Smaller boards, including NZC, dine out on hosting India in bilateral series because they can sell the broadcast rights back to India for mega dollars.
The Kiwis will make a goldmine from India's six-week tour before they return to Australia for an ODI series in March that clashes with Round 1 of the AFL and NRL.
India plays more cricket than any other country but also tours more than anyone else, helping pump cash into cricket around the world.
Sutherland once likened the schedule to a 3D game of chess with as many as eight countries wanting to host Australia during its summer.
But Australia is privileged in that so much of its home summer, such as the iconic Boxing Day and New Year's Tests, are locked into the calendar.
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