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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Celkon Mobile Cup.... 'When India travels - money follows'

In the Tri-nation tournament in West Indies, India takes on Sri Lanka today and both teams have lost their earlier match to WI albeit by different margins.  I had earlier posted about that bloody test in 1976 at Sabina and of the total dominance WI had for a few decades…….Tri Nation tournaments are not too common …… Aussies used to host them regularly – mostly involving Kiwis, hosts and other visiting team – but that concept was driven to ludicrousness when once they had Australia – England – and Australia A playing – England getting eliminated – two teams of Australia playing and some player who had played for A team later turning out for the main team !!!!!!

After IPL, Champions Trophy comes this 3 Nation tournament called ‘Celkon Mobile Cup’  ~ the trophy was unveiled in Jamaica by Celkon Mobiles ED Murali in presence of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) officials and all three team captains M S Dhoni, Angelo Mathews and Dwayne Bravo at a glittering ceremony. Still the enormity or the purpose did not strike at first instance until I read this article by Tony Cozier.  The television coverage of the entire series is being produced by Ten Sport.   
Dwayne Bravo, ED Murali, MS Dhoni and Angelo Mathews

Winston Anthony "Tony" Cozier (born 1940) has been a cricket writer and commentator for West Indian cricket since 1958. He is widely renowned for his extensive knowledge of cricket facts and statistics. Cozier's first Test Match commentary on radio was on West Indies v Australia in 1965.Cozier is a member of the BBC's Test Match Special commentary team. As a tribute to his contributions to cricket, the press box at the Kensington Oval has been named after him. The article that appeared in is titled ‘When India travel, money follows’  - he opines that for the impoverished WICB, substituting a bilateral with Sri Lanka with a tri-series is a financial coup. However, it isn't doing Test cricket any good in the region

It only needed a quick glance around Sabina Park on Friday to understand why India are here for the ODI triangular with West Indies and Sri Lanka, rather than the two Tests, three ODIs and one T20 against Sri Lanka as stipulated on the ICC's Future Tours Programme (FTP). The switch has little to do with cricket, all to do with the money that follows India wherever they go. The teams are playing for the Celkon Mobile Cup, the name of a large Hyderabad-based manufacturer of mobile phones. It and a host of other Indian products and services, household names in the subcontinent, but unheard of in these parts, fill the ground perimeter advertising boards.

They are there because live coverage of the matches is transmitted back to India (as well as several other areas) by Ten Sports, the Dubai-based Indian production company that won the rights to international cricket in the Caribbean from the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) last year. Commentary is in English and, more pertinently for a viewership of several million, in Hindi. The basis for the change from the ICC's bilateral with Sri Lanka was that it clashed with the closing stages of the IPL in which the leading Sri Lankan and West Indies players would be engaged. In their absence, the Tests would be seriously devalued. For the impoverished WICB, the substitute is a financial coup. It was also, unavoidably it would argue, a further tightening of the rope around the neck of Test cricket. There would be further complications. The tri-series was slotted in immediately after the Champions Trophy in England, precisely when the FTP had mandated a home series of two Tests, five ODIs and two T20s against Pakistan.   
Nothing, however, properly explains how the WICB hasn't been able to attract sponsorship for its major tournaments since the days of Shell, Sandals, Geddes Grant/Harrison Line, Busta and Red Stripe.  The WICB had already sold the rights for its annual T20 to the little known Verus International organisation under the banner of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL). Since then, Digicel, the former sponsor of West Indies cricket, has taken a lead role preparing for the July 30-August 24 tournament.

The stark truth, as the WICB repeatedly states, is that the only profitable home tours are those by India and England (with their host of travelling supporters and Sky TV coverage more so than the advertisers). All the others result in losses in a region of steep hotel and travel costs, small populations and increasingly struggling economies. When Zimbabwe toured last March, there was a sprinkling of advertising boards on the ground, all from WICB's few sponsors. By then, Digicel had dropped its title sponsorship, a hint of its later involvement with the CPL. So it was last year when New Zealand and Australia came, their time zones inconvenient for TV viewers back home. The ICC hasn't listed India to return until February 2016 for three Tests, five ODIs and one T20. England have been split into separate tours (three ODIs and two T20s next February-March, three Tests in April 2015). The same number of spectators will hopefully follow them. All of which might yet change. As long as India can be lured back, the ICC programme has no bearing.

So it is all about Indian money and how badly it is needed by other economies. The enormity of cash flow in to the game when it involves Indian Cricket is revealed not only the popular IPL window but also by the hidden tours like these where India increasingly is most sought after to tour……. It is more about commercialization of the game and how much the game can change for its viewership, nay, its advertisers and sponsors…. It is not only cheerleaders who are dancing, perhaps…. !!!!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

2nd July 2013.
PS : Article-  'When India travels, money follows' -  reproduced entirely from


  1. Ten Sports will earn a lot because in India almost everyone love cricket and the TRP of this channel will be high during this tour..!!

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