Cricket Australia fears major financial losses if India series scrapped


CANBERRA, APR 21 – Cricket Australia could lose hundreds of millions of dollars if this year’s Test tour by India is scrapped because of the coronavirus, its chief executive warned on Tuesday.

Kevin Roberts said Australia was considering extending the four-Test series to five games, which would mean sacrificing the one-off Test against Afghanistan in November.

In October and November Australia are also hosting the T20 World Cup, for which the International Cricket Council has said it is “exploring all options”.

Roberts said Cricket Australia had already lost Au$20 million ($12.6 million) since the start of the coronavirus crisis, a figure that would balloon if India cannot tour.

“If you contemplate the prospect of the international season, in particular, being affected, we have an issue of hundreds of millions of dollars on our hands,” Roberts told Australian media in a conference call. “So it’s very important we plan proactively for that.”

India, the world’s top Test team, enjoy a huge domestic audience, making their tours an important source of income for host nations.

Roberts said Australia and India had a “shared desire” to move to a five-Test series in the future, which would put it on a par with the biennial Ashes games against England.

“We don’t know what prospect there is of that next season, but certainly with a changing landscape… we won’t rule out a possibility of that until we get closer to the time,” he said, according to the Sporting News website.

Roberts added that “creative solutions” may be needed as discussions continue behind the scenes about potential cuts to players’ pay.

Cricket Australia has already sent home most of its administrative staff on reduced pay, which Roberts said was necessary to stave off financial disaster in case of further disruption this year. “We respect the player payment model that is in place now, and we intend to continue respecting that,” Roberts said. “It doesn’t mean disrespecting the current model at all. It just means we need creative solutions like every other organisation in society to manage through this situation respectfully to all parties involved.”