Australia, India one-dayers in Ireland - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Australia, India one-dayers in Ireland

By Adam Cooper 08/02/2007 07:19:19 PM Comments (0)

Australia will this year play India in a one-day series in Ireland, which has highlighted the clout the world's cricket superpower wields in expanding the game's already hectic schedule.

Australia and India are set to play three, possibly five, matches at Stormont in Belfast in late June in a series designed largely for Indian television consumption.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced the series overnight after previous plans of playing matches in the United States and Canada fell through because of a lack of suitable venues.

India will use the series to kickstart their tour of England, and the games will also fall under the BCCI's multi-million dollar contract with broadcaster Zee TV, which stipulates the Indian team playing 25 off-shore one-day matches over five years.

The desire of broadcasters to televise matches across the subcontinent resulted in Australia, India and the West Indies playing a tri-series in Malaysia last year, and also mean Australia - the best side in the world - will play more matches against India in coming years.

Ricky Ponting's side will tour India in October to play seven one-dayers, and then host India from December in four Tests and a tri-series in 2008, which also involves Sri Lanka.

Ponting said he and his players had no complaint with the timing of the Ireland series, as it fell two months after the scheduled end of the World Cup.

However he admitted India's influence in scheduling meant Australia would not be able to play other cricket nations on a regular basis.

"From a players' point of view, you'd like to be playing all the teams around the world on a more consistent basis," Ponting said.

"But that's just the way it is. That's programming.

"No matter how hard you work at programming it's pretty hard to get it right 100 per cent of the time.

"So if that's what we're confronted with, we just have to do the best we can with it."

The Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) also had no objection to the timing of the series, but was concerned players faced tougher workloads to keep up with the demands of administrators and broadcasters.

"The ACA understands Cricket Australia is trying to form a strong relationship with India," chief executive Paul Marsh said.

"The ACA wants all parties to continue to ensure that these type of series don't lead to an overload of cricket for both players and the game."

While Indian fans will relish more matches against Australia, there are fears more games between the two sides will dilute the power of the rivalry.

The edge of the Australia-England rivalry has diminished the longer this summer has continued, particularly based on England's inability to match it with their rival.

The Ireland series means Australia and India could play up to 20 one-day matches over the next year.

Depending on results at the World Cup, it also means Australia could play in every continent in the 2007 calendar year bar Antarctica, as the World Cup will be played throughout the Caribbean.

The Ireland series will also add to the hectic schedules Indian players face in 2007.

Rahul Dravid's side tours Bangladesh after the World Cup, plays three Tests and seven one-dayers in England, plays Australia at home, hosts arch-rival Pakistan and then tours Australia.

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