Lack of sponsors’ interest raises doubts on South Africa tri-series

September 1st, 2008 - 2:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Karachi, Sep 1 (IANS) Pakistan’s hopes of playing in a proposed tri-series in South Africa later this month are slowly fading because of lack of interest in the tournament from sponsors and broadcasters.According to details, hosts South Africa have so far been unable to attract any sponsors or broadcasters for the triangular that was planned after the Champions Trophy which was supposed to take place in Pakistan Sep 12-28 was postponed to October 2009 because of security concerns raised by five of the eight competing teams.

The idea of having a three or four-nation event to compensate for the postponement of the Champions Trophy came from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and it was Cricket South Africa (CSA) which obliged. Sri Lanka and India were invited as the other two teams for the proposed quadrangular. While Sri Lanka accepted the invitation, Indian declined it saying it wants its cricketers to stay focused on an all-important home series against Australia.

So far, the only progress made regarding the tri-series is the confirmation of the three teams. Even the dates and the venues are yet to be finalised though the competing teams have agreed to play on roughly the same dates as the scrapped Champions Trophy.

But CSA is having difficulties in roping in sponsors and broadcasters for the tri-series as most of them have already exhausted their sports budget during the recently-concluded Olympic Games in Beijing. Another problem for CSA is that the rising popularity of Twenty20 has diminished sponsors’ interest in the 50-over format.

Now the PCB is trying to use its influence and help CSA sell broadcasting and sponsorship rights.

Pakistan is desperate for the series as their cricketers have been mostly starved of quality cricket action this year.

“We are hoping that the tri-series will be held this month in South Africa,” said Shafqat Naghmi, PCB’s chief operating officer. “There are some issues to be resolved but we are confident that everything will fall in place soon,” he added.

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