Cricket Australia Interim CEO Nick Hockley on Tuesday slammed broadcast partner Channel 7 for raking up a dispute on the telecast of the ongoing series against India and thanked "friends at the BCCI" for assisting the conduct of the high-profile series amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The dispute between CA and Channel 7 has intensified with the broadcaster lodging "an affidavit with the court here in a pre-discovery action," attempting "to prove its contention that CA breached its contract with a raft of scheduling changes this summer" in order to cater to the BCCI's interests.
The media company said CA is "terrified" of the BCCI and sought access to communication between the two boards, as well as executives at Foxtel, domestic broadcast partner, and state governments regarding finalising of the fixtures for the marquee tour. "With so much positivity around Australian cricket, it is disappointing that Seven West Media has again chosen to use the media to talk our wonderful game down," Hockley responded in a statement posted on cricketworld.com.
"CA has maintained all along our commitment to delivering a thrilling summer of cricket ... I'm proud to say we are doing just that. We remain confident in our contractual position.
"In the most challenging environment sport has faced, with the support of our friends at the BCCI, CA has ensured that the much-anticipated series with India can go ahead safely."
India's tour started with the ODI series, which will be followed by as many T20Is before the two sides lock horns in a four-Test rubber. However, Seven West Media's chief executive James Warburton has said that CA should have started the summer with the day-night Test against India, which is now scheduled to start in Adelaide on December 17, instead of the limited overs series.
"The first two men's Dettol ODIs between Australia and India set viewership records and is a great indicator of the level of interest in the upcoming Vodafone Test Series for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, which includes the first-ever day-night Test against India," Hockley said.
Hockley also expressed gratitude towards the Channel 7 staff, who are continuing to do their job despite the ongoing legal battle. "We continue to have tremendous respect for the hardworking people across Channel 7's cricket and news broadcast teams and congratulate them on the substantial increase in ratings cricket has delivered them to date this season," he said.
"We have, and will continue to, fulfil our obligations to our partners and supporters by scheduling a brilliant summer of cricket, despite the cost and complexity of doing so given the current public health situation."