Nimbus walks out of Afro-Asia Cup
The Afro-Asia Cup cricket series, already shorn of its sheen with top names keeping away, was in jeopardy with rights-holder Nimbus walking out of its deal with the Asian Cricket Council.
"We will not be part of the event in anyway. We will not be telecasting the event. Neither will we be producing nor bringing sponsorship for the matches," Nimbus chief Harish Thawani told PTI.
Nimbus' decision comes less than a week from the tournament, scheduled from June 6 to 10 in Bangalore and Chennai.
"This is not a sudden decision. There have been developments over the last few months," Thawani said.
Thawani refused to mention specific reasons for the pull out, merely saying, "it is all there for everyone to see and form an opinion."
What Thawani did not say in so many words was the pull out of several stars from the series that features three one-dayers and a Twenty-20 international besides a women's tie between the teams from the two continents.
Captain Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble, Virender Sehwag from India, record-breaking office Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas from Sri Lanka, mercurial speedster Shoaib Akhtar from Pakistan were the big names that are not part of the Asian squad.
The African team would be without South African skipper Graeme Smith.
Nimbus had bagged the rights for the inter-continental event from the Asian Cricket Council.
The Afro-Asia Cup was first held in 2005 featuring three one-dayers in South Africa.
The event, a brainchild of former BCCI and ICC president Jagmohan Dalmiya, was initially planned to be held annually for three years.
But the ouster of Dalmiya from the BCCI, the financial power that drives modern cricket, seemed to have sounded a death knell for the tournament and was not part of the international calendar in 2006.
The matches have anyway failed to generate excitement among the cricketers who have already been complaining about the crammed scheduling.
Nimbus' pull out comes close on the heels of Zee TV breaking away from a five-year broadcast deal with the BCCI earlier in the day.