Australian summer is not unaffected this yearThe one-day tri-series has been pushed back

Melbourne: This year’s India series may be the last occasion for Cricket Australia to host its traditional December 26 and January 2 Tests, which is under threat to lose as other nations are resenting its monopoly over the region’s summer schedule.

For instance, South Africa has its own Boxing Day and New Year’s Day Tests, except when it tours Australia, and it has reportedly demanded the review of scheduling from the International Cricket Council.

South Africa, scheduled to tour Australia again in 2008-09, is also supported by the West Indies, which has raised concerned about the funding under the current touring arrangements.

CA’s public affairs manager Peter Young said protecting the traditional Australian summer “is certainly one of the most difficult issues we’ve got” and nothing had been scheduled after the Tests against India later this year.

“Looking ahead, South Africa has very clearly signalled this is a big issue for them and I don’t believe we’ve resolved that yet. The only program we’ve finalised is the program for next summer,” Young was quoted as saying by The Australian.

Australia, although, pays South Africa a compensation of around $300,000 each time the latter sacrifices its own Boxing Day and New Year’s Day Tests by touring Down Under.

Australian summer is not unaffected this year as well as India has also refused to arrive until late December which keeps their traditional two Tests safe but leaves a three-week hole in December, the prime time for Test cricket in Australia.

Annual tournament

The annual one-day triangular tournament has also been pushed back, beginning in early February and running until the first week of March.

“Scheduling cricket is a bit like trying to get a Rubik’s Cube aligned. It’s really complicated and it’s only getting more complicated,” Young said.

“We’ve got a traditional season that we’ve been operating for a long while and we’re keen to keep working with other nations to do that.

The Boxing Day Test and the New Year’s Test are iconic parts of the Australian summer,” he added.

He pointed out that eight of the 10 Test-playing nations, including Australia, share the same cricket season.

The ICC, on its part, has formed a committee, chaired by former Australian Cricket Board and ICC chairman Malcolm Gray, to examine the existing scheduling through the future tours programme and look at the funding of international cricket and make recommendations to the ICC executive board’s two-day meeting next week. — PTI

More In: SPORT | Today's Paper