Television

Ten Sports, DD to discuss India-Pakistan series telecast

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MUMBAI: Officials from Indian pubcaster Prasar Bharati are meeting their counterparts from Dubai-based Ten Sports tomorrow in a last-ditch bid to squeeze something extra on the terrestrial telecast rights front.

The main argument that public broadcaster Doordarshan will be making is that Ten Sports, having given the terrestrial rights to (Pakistan's state-run channel) PTV to telecast the series live in Pakistan, should offer it more than what has been laid on the table thus far.

Ten Sports, which holds the telecast rights for the series, is holding firm thus far and has only offered to give DD a daily highlights package for the Test matches and a one-day deferred highlights package for the One-Day Internationals.

So what is going to be up for discussion as far as Ten Sports is concerned? Only the radio broadcast rights, which Ten has also acquired, information available with indiantelevision.com indicates.

This is hardly likely to satisfy Prasar Bharati CEO KS Sarma, who is meeting top officials of Ten Sports, including CEO Chris McDonald and programming head Peter Hutton, in New Delhi tomorrow. But it remains to be seen what he can do to turn things DD's way.

India is scheduled to play three Tests and five one-day internationals besides a three-day warm up match on their first full-fledged tour of Pakistan in over 14 years which is set to kick off from 11 March.

India unwilling to play in Karachi, Peshawar

The itinerary of the Pakistan tour is yet to be finalised and a three-member Indian team of officials is currently in Pakistan to study first hand the security and other arrangements made by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

The Indian officials, who will be in Pakistan for eight days, are visiting seven possible venues - Multan, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Peshawar, Karachi, Faisalabad and Lahore.

Current indications are that the Indian officials, after their review thus far, have turned down requests to play a match in the port city of Karachi as well as in Peshawar. This is despite the Pakistan government's promises of "presidential" security at these centres and all the others on the itinerary.

It is worthwhile mentioning that Karachi has witnessed several bomb attacks in recent months while Peshawar is located in a region where remnants of the Taliban and Al Qaida are believed to be active.

The team is led by BCCI joint secretary Ratnakar Shetty and includes communications director Amrit Mathur and the inspector general (VIP security) in the home ministry, Yashovardhan Azad, a government nominee.

The itinerary will be announced after the inspection team gives its report on its return.

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