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BCCI upset with Neo Sports

The BCCI has written to series broadcasters Neo Sports , asking that they stop airing provocative commercials promoting the India-Australia series, reports Anand Vasu.

cricket Updated: Oct 09, 2008 01:52 IST
Anand Vasu

The BCCI is going out of its way to ensure that this series is played in the best possible spirit, but the Australians, led by Ricky Ponting, may be up to their usual 'disruptive tricks'.

The BCCI has written to series broadcasters Neo Sports , asking that they stop airing provocative commercials promoting the series. "We have sent a letter as such commercials just disrupt relations between the two countries," said a top BCCI source confirmed, referring to an advertisement which goes back to January's acrimonious Sydney Test, where allegations of racism and cheating flew thick and fast. When the Test ended, skipper Anil Kumble famously told a press conference, "Only one team was playing in the spirit of the game".

N. Srinivasan, BCCI treasurer, recently wrote to Digvijay Singh, chief executive of Nimbus. "It has been brought to our notice that the promotional advertisement shown in NEO SPORTS for the India Vs Australia Test series showed the pictures of newspapers showing the spat between Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds with "Maa ki – Monkey" quotations and there was a caption that (read) "It's time to pay back"," said the letter. "If this is true, this will leave a very bad taste in the minds of the public which will be detrimental to the interest of both BCCI and Cricket Australia."

The BCCI wants to ensure that there is no repeat of Australia's last visit to India when Andrew Symonds was subjected to monkey chants by fans.

But while the BCCI works the diplomatic channels, it seems the Australian team is in no mood to play ball. Admittedly, it was Virender Sehwag who fired the first salvo. "We suffered the most in the catches pact during the last series," Sehwag told ESPN-STAR. "There is no point in having such an arrangement when the Australians are claiming one-bounce catches. We'd have won the Sydney Test if they hadn't claimed catches off half-volleys."

Ponting, asked about this at his official pre-match press conference, said: "Who knows what he's trying to achieve there. All I know is that the Australian team has moved on from the Sydney Test. Six or seven months ago is a long time in international cricket. The result is there for all to see, it can't be changed."

However, he sung a different tune when he spoke separately to the Australian media. "That's fairly insulting," Ponting told them. "It's amazing how they've picked out a lot of negatives from that game and don't seem to be speaking about the Perth Test (the third match of that series, which Australia lost), where we probably had the same things happen to us. Not one member of the Australian team has spoken about it. We go about our cricket in different ways."

It's not for the first time that an Australian cricketer has said one thing to the Indian media – they know where a lot of their sponsorship comes from – and something entirely different when speaking to audiences back home.