Australia Test captain Tim Paine has urged administrators to sit down with broadcasters and iron out their differences as soon as possible as the game tries to navigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the upcoming season.
Channel Seven has threatened to terminate its contract with Cricket Australia (CA) unless there is some clarity over a playing schedule, which has been compromised by Covid-19 restrictions.
James Warburton, the head of the broadcaster, described the delays last week as a “train wreck” and said they were not happy with the possibility of the Big Bash being diluted without international players.
“I think they’re going to get together this week and have a chat,” Paine told reporters in Hobart as CA announced a new sponsorship deal with Vodafone that includes naming rights for the men’s Test series and sponsorship of the women’s team and their Big Bash competition.
“It’s probably a little bit overdue. Hopefully they then get on the same page and work together and make sure we get the best result for cricket in this country, not just for Channel Seven, not just for Cricket Australia.
“They need to work together and do what’s best for the game. Hopefully they…iron a few things out and we can all move forward.”
Seven and pay television company Foxtel agreed a six-year broadcasting rights agreement worth A$1.2 billion with CA in 2018. Seven’s share of the agreement was worth about A$450m.
Paine added that as far as he was aware the match schedule for this summer, which includes a lucrative Test series with India, was in the final stages for government approval.
“My understanding is it has been ticked off by the states, by CA, by the players,” he said. “It now just has to go to that next level.”
One possibility is that the men’s international season will begin with limited-overs cricket against India following the quarantine period all players will need to serve after the IPL. That could be followed by the one-off Test against Afghanistan before the four matches against India.
The season will get underway later this month with a tour by the New Zealand Women’s team for three T20Is and three ODIs which will all be played at Allan Border Field in Brisbane. Those matches are part of Channel Seven’s current deal.