V. V. Subrahmanyam

Black out telecast of England-India Test match

HYDERABAD: The cable networks in the State Capital have their way, once again. The first hint of what could be a long phase of dejection for cricket lovers, given the stand-off between Star Cricket and the cable operators, was available when the first day’s play of the England-India Test match at Lord’s was blacked off by the latter on Thursday.

Hathway said to have monopoly on the cable network here has once again decided to be beyond the fence and let the viewers watch their battle with the ESPN-Star Sports which is beaming the on-going Indian cricket team tour to England live on its exclusive cricket channel – Star Cricket.

Contrary to the big claims made by the Star Cricket bosses during their last visit here stating that they had arrived at an understanding with the cable operators and the telecast would be hassle-free, cricket lovers continue to be deprived of the action.

Subscription fee

Star Cricket officials claimed to have offered a subscription fee of Rs. 28 per connection to the network which the latter was unwilling to accept.

“The problem is that even under normal circumstances they don’t disclose the exact number of subscribers to avoid huge subscription fee. But we are still negotiating with them and are hopeful,” a Star Cricket senior official said.

Ironically, the telecast is available on Dish TV and the Tata Sky. And with Star Cricket getting exclusive rights, even Doordarshan does not come into the picture. No Hathway official was available for comments “The lords of cable TV are ruling the waves now,” remarked G. Venkatesh, a cricket fan.