Star's big bet on India cricket seems to have got the blessings of the two arch rival nations as India and Pakistan return to the playing arena to compete against each other after a gap of over five years. The resumption of cricketing ties means that Star, the BCCI’s media rights holder, will have the telecast rights for the bilateral ties to be played in December-January.
"Star India will have the telecast rights for the India-Pakistan series. The broadcaster will pay Rs 322.6 million per match, the same amount that it is forking out for the first two years of the rights," a top BCCI official said on condition of anonymity.
Pakistan is expected to tour India in December 2012–January 2013 for a three ODI and two Twenty20 match series. Chennai, Kolkata and Delhi are tipped to host ODI matches while Bangalore and Ahmedabad are expected to be the venues for the two T20 matches.
Star had in April acquired the media rights for international cricket played in India for a whopping Rs 38.51 billion till 2018. The broadcaster will pay Rs 322.6 million per match for the first two years and a whopping Rs 432 million for the next four years.
The PCB, it is understood, was pitching for having its own home series on the Indian soil. However, the BCCI did not warm up to the idea. The BCCI also turned down PCB's proposal of having its home matches at neutral venue.
The PCB’s contention was that it was Pakistan’s turn to host a series, more so since India’s tour of Pakistan in 2009 was cancelled due to the Mumbai attacks. The cancellation of that tour had cost PCB heavily since it had to rework its deal with broadcast partner Taj Television-owned Ten Sports.
PCB had to give a $40 million waiver to Ten Sports for the cancellation of series, thereby denting its earning. Ten Sports had agreed to pay $140 million for the production and telecast rights of all international matches from Pakistan running from 2009 to 2013.
Ten, which has only one India series to telecast this year, was pinning its hopes on an Indo-Pak series. However its hopes have been dashed, now that the BCCI has driven a hard bargain from the PCB to have the matches played in India.
The decision, meanwhile, ended days of speculation and also marks the resumption of cricketing ties which have been on a standstill ever since the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai. The two countries last played a series in 2007-08 when Pakistan toured India for three match Test matches and five ODIs.
"It was decided to resume cricketing ties with Pakistan by inviting the Pakistan cricket team for a short series in December 2012 – January 2013. The modalities will be worked out shortly," BCCI secretary Sanjay Jagdale said.
However, the bilateral series will still need Government approval.
The decision was commended by PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf, who said, "The decision is great and we welcome it. It seems that millions of cricket fans have their wishes fulfilled. We are still waiting for a BCCI invitation for the series, but it seems it will surely be held later this year."
The series will be scheduled between the split tour of India and England involving four Tests, five ODIs and two T20 internationals. The English team will play the Tests and T20s from 15 November-22 December and return for a five match ODI series beginning 6 January after the Christmas break.
Recently, the foreign secretaries of the two countries had also given thumbs-up to the resumption of bilateral ties following their meeting in New Delhi as part of engagement aimed at normalising relation between the two countries.
The heads of BCCI and PCB have also been in regular talks for the last couple of years to bring about resumption of ties.
PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf had met his counterpart BCCI president N Srinivasan on the sidelines of last month’s ICC Executive Board meeting in Malaysia.
As a first step towards normalising cricketing relations, the BCCI had approved the participation of Pakistan’s domestic champion Sialkot Stallions in the qualifying tournament of Champions League Twenty20 being played in South Africa.
In the last five years, the two countries have played each other only in multi-team events including the famous semi-final at Mohali during the 2011 ICC World Cup. The two teams had also locked horns with each other in the four-nation Asia Cup tournament in Bangladesh.
Source: Indian Television News