India rejects offer to tour New Zealand
India have declined a request to tour New Zealand this month following Sri Lanka's decision to return home, The New Zealand Herald newspaper said on Thursday.
"The last-ditch effort to salvage the first half of the summer's international programme now rests mainly on the hope that NZC and the players' association can entice a world eleven here later this month," the newspaper said.
The Kiwis were scheduled to host five One-Day Internationals and two Tests against the Sri Lankans but the tour was postponed after one match because of the Indian Ocean tsunami that killed more than 145,000 people.
With the team not scheduled to play again until they host Australia at the end of February, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) chief executive Martin Snedden is attempting to fill the gap in the schedule.
"The (world eleven) initiative effectively depends on enough high-calibre players being recruited to make the series viable, and in a nutshell that comes down to money," Snedden told the newspaper.
"We want to be able to sell the television rights to underpin the series, and we're working pretty hard on that at the moment."
NZC had successfully applied to the International Cricket Council (ICC) for approval of the world eleven series concept, The New Zealand Herald added.
Snedden said he could understand India's reluctance to pluck their players out of domestic cricket to tour New Zealand.
"I was never hopeful, but we didn't have many options open to us, and we couldn't afford to assume anything," he said.
New Zealand Players' Association spokesman Heath Mills said world eleven players had expressed interest in a proposed series.
We're talking about Australian Test players not required on the One-Day International scene, Australian fringe players, and England Test players not involved in the one-day series against South Africa," he said.
"We've also had indications from three or four Sri Lankan players that they would be prepared to return to New Zealand."
India's Saurav Ganguly will captain Asia against the world eleven in Monday's One-Day International in Melbourne to raise funds for tsunami victims.