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IPL franchisees feel the heat of Indo-Aussie cricket spat


Pavitra Sazawal,CNN-IBN
Feb 27, 2008 at 10:42pm IST

New Delhi: It's a relationship that has many contrasts. On the cricket field, India and Australia are fierce, even petulant adversaries.

But in the forthcoming Indian Premier League, Australian players accounted for record prices. The BCCI and Cricket Australia know they stand to earn the most playing each other as frequently as possible.

Since October last year, the two teams have locked horns in 11 one-day games and four Test matches, way more than the ICC's Future Tour Programme which requires teams to play each other home and away over a six-year cycle, and the series could involve as little as two Test matches and three One-dayers. It's up to the individual boards to decide how much over and above that they want to play.

THIS IS NOT CRICKET: Recent incidents involving Aussie players may turn off fans in the cities they will play for.

Australia are to play four Test matches later this year in India and seven One-dayers in 2009 before India return Down Under in the summer of 2010-11. Could there be a move now to reduce the number of these contests which will hurt Australia financially?

"We should talk to the players and see that the relations between the two cricket boards doesn't get spoiled by such type of behaviour by the players," BCCI's Chief Administrative Officer Prof Ratnakar Shetty told CNN-IBN.

Australian players have also gone for huge amounts in the IPL auctions, second only to Indian players. And instances such as the one involving Hayden can turn off fans in the cities they will be turning up for.

"He's coming to play in India, so I think he should gain the Indian public's momentum with him," says a fan from Chennai, for who's team Hayden will play.

"Playing at such a high level for their country, I think they should have some sort of decency in respecting a fellow player," says another.

The franchisees, too, have reason to be concerned. After all, besides scoring runs or taking wickets the players will also be positioned as brand ambassadors. Any dip in their popularity will be suicidal.

"I think Hayden made himself look very, very small today," former India captain and Chennai Super Kings' brand ambassador Kris Srikkanth told CNN-IBN.

"I had great respect for Hayden as a cricketer, but I have lost respect for him because of the comment he made today," Srikkanth adds. Clearly with so much as stake, there will be millions of eyes watching every development over the next few days.

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