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~~Australia rejig schedule to accommodate India~~

Published: Wednesday, February 7, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Sydney:Australian cricket officials have been forced to change their traditional Test schedule to accommodate India's visit Down Under beginning late this year, it was reported.

The Sydney Morning Herald said Wednesday the 2007-08 Test season would begin more than a month later than the current season because India would only arrive in mid-December after their blockbuster home series against arch-rivals Pakistan.

The newspaper said the change was "a further sign that the once immovable southern season is increasingly having to be shaped around the desires of the powerful India-led subcontinental bloc."

Under the changes, the Melbourne Boxing Day Test beginning on Dec 26 and the Sydney Test starting on Jan 2 will be the opening Tests of the four-match India series, even though they normally make up the season finale.

The Herald said the Test season would continue until late January with matches in Perth and Adelaide, followed by a triangular one-day series involving the host nation, India and Sri Lanka.

This year's one-day series will wrap up by next Tuesday at the latest but the Herald said next season's would continue until early March.

The newspaper contrasted the situation with India's last visit in 2003-04, when the tourists travelled Down Under then returned home to host Pakistan.

It said Cricket Australia's willingness to alter its calendar to meet India's needs suggested "increasingly Australia's heavyweight standing as a constant of the global cricket calendar will come under threat."

"This time (India) will host Pakistan in November and December, making their Australian tour fit around that series, rather than the other way around, as was the case four years ago," it said.

AFP

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