New Delhi: The Commonwealth Games in October are set to compete against nation’s obsession with cricket if a high-profile home series against Australia goes ahead as scheduled.
Ricky Ponting’s men are due to tour India in September-October at the same time the four-yearly Games take place in New Delhi from 3 to 14 October.
An official of the Indian cricket board (BCCI) said details of the tour, which is part of the International Cricket Council’s Future Tours Program, were being worked out with Cricket Australia.
“We have requested Australia to play two Tests and three one-day internationals instead of a series of seven one-dayers,” the BCCI’s chief administrative official Ratnakar Shetty told AFP.
Australia are due to arrive in late September and must return home by 31 October, when they begin a home series of Twenty20 and one-day matches against Sri Lanka.
The tour, once finalised, is certain to further annoy Indian Olympic officials, who are already seething at the BCCI’s decision not to send the men’s and women’s cricket teams to the Asian Games in China in November.
“The BCCI is not taking part because there is no money to be made at the Asian Games,” said Indian Olympic Association chief Suresh Kalmadi, who heads the Commonwealth Games organising committee.
“They think only of money. I am glad cricket is not part of the Commonwealth Games.”
Although New Delhi is unlikely to figure in Australia’s itinerary, millions of television viewers will be glued to the cricket when the Games are on.
Cricket has such a strong following in India that organisers of the field hockey World Cup in New Delhi in March advanced the tournament by a week so that it would not clash with the Indian Premier League.
Cricket, a non-Olympic sport, was last seen at a major multi-sport event at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, but was dropped for the next two editions in England and Australia.