New Zealand looks to rope in a World XI

Published: Thursday, January 6, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Auckland:New Zealand Cricket was attempting to organise a World XI series to salvage the first half of their summer international programme after India declined to fill in for Sri Lanka's cancelled tour following the Asian tsunamis.

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) chief executive Martin Snedden said a decision on a World XI would be finalised next week and he understood India's reluctance to tour at short notice.

"I was never hopeful but we didn't have many options open to us, and we couldn't afford to assume anything," he said.

The last-ditch World XI plan faces several obstacles, not least the need to quickly sell prospective television rights to make the series a financial reality.

A proposed three-match limited-over series would be an expensive exercise for NZC, which would have to fly players from all over the world, as well as pay match fees and bonuses for both teams.

Snedden said that adequate financial backing was critical if top-level players were to be persuaded to drop everything at a moment's notice and head to New Zealand.

"The initiative effectively depends on enough high-calibre players being recruited to make the series viable, and in a nutshell that comes down to money," he told The New Zealand Herald.

"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."

New Zealand Players Association spokesman Heath Mills said the next step would be to receive support from the respective players' national boards.

"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."

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