India’s forthcoming tour to Zimbabwe could be postponed to next year if the ongoing issues between the BCCI and the series broadcaster, Ten Sports, are not resolved, a Zimbabwe Cricket release has said.
However, Wilson Manase, the ZC chairman, along with the board’s chief executive is hopeful of a resolution during his scheduled discussions with the BCCI officials on the sidelines of the ICC annual conference in Barbados between June 22 and 26. It is understood that the discussions on the Essel Group-owned Ten Sports during the ICC conference could extend to their broadcast agreements with five other boards.
“If the matters take too long to resolve, ZC and the BCCI might mutually agree to push the tour to next year,” Manase said in the ZC release.
The problem could recur for India’s tour of Sri Lanka in August for which Ten Sports could win the terrestrial rights for broadcasting the series in the subcontinent. The tour is currently not part of SLC’s deal with the channel, the board has invited bids for broadcast rights for the three-Test series.
The BCCI’s well-documented problems with the Essel Group include the rebel Indian Cricket League in 2007 – a T20 tournament that preceded the IPL but was marginalised into shutting down by the Indian board. There have been subsequent court disputes between the two parties. The Essel Group has also been publicly speaking about a new breakaway Twenty20 league.
The ZC release also said that the board was yet to approach the local immigration authorities for the facilitation of visas because the memorandum of understanding between the two boards was still being worked out.
“Cricket is a national sport and ZC enjoys a cordial relationship with all relevant government offices so the acquisition of visas is not an issue,” Manase said. “The substantive issues are what we will discuss in Barbados.”
India are scheduled to play three ODIs and two T20s in Zimbabwe from July 10.