Cricket: Paine urges Cricket Australia and Seven Channel to Iron out differences, be on same page

Test skipper Tim Paine on Wednesday urged Cricket Australia and broadcaster Channel Seven to “iron out” their differences and get on the “same page” to take the sport forward in the country.

Last week, Channel Seven had threatened to terminate its contract worth USD 450 million with Cricket Australia over its allegedly poor handling of the domestic and international calender for the 2020-21 season, which has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A few final things need to be ticked off at government level. My understanding is it has been ticked off by the states, by CA, by the players. It now just has to go to that next level,” Paine was quoted as saying by ‘The West Australian’.

Seven had signed a six-year deal with CA in 2018 but with the pandemic throwing the schedule haywire, the broadcaster is concerned about the quality of the season, especially since international players might not be available for the glamorous Big Bash League (BBL) owing to the travel restrictions in place due to the pandemic.

Seven chief executive James Warburton was frustrated at the lack of clarity from CA and wants the Board to deliver a season “no lesser standard” than the past.

CA CEO Nick Hockley said it is a challenge to announce the international schedule amid the global health crisis but remained adamant not to renegotiate the deal with Seven.

“I think they’re going to get together this week and have a chat. It’s probably a little bit overdue,” Paine said.

“Hopefully they then get on the same page and work together and make sure we get the best result for cricket in this country, not just for Channel Seven, not just for Cricket Australia.

“They need to work together and do what’s best for the game. Hopefully they … iron a few things out and we can all move forward.”

Channel Nine chief executive Hugh Marks has also called off the deal to televise the T20 World Cup due to postponement of the tournament to 2022.

The Board’s schedule so far includes the four-Test series against India, a one-off Test against Afghanistan and the men’s and women’s Big Bash tournaments but it might need to be tweaked as the COVID-19 situation evolving.