Cricket: Belfast Stage for India-Australia

Article excerpt

Australia are deep into talks to play in one-day matches in Great Britain this summer.

Ricky Ponting's team are expected to face India in three matches at Stormont, Belfast, in mid-summer.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India are obliged to play 25 one-day internationals in overseas locations over a five-year period as a result of their most recent television agreement. They are to use the three matches - on June 27, 29 and July 1 - as a warm-up to their tour of England.

For Australia, it will be their only confirmed cricket between the end of the World Cup in late-April and the inaugural Twenty20 global showdown in South Africa in September.

"That will be OK at that time of year," Australia captain Ponting said. "I know Cricket Australia and the Indians are talking about playing those games somewhere in late June. We will have had a six-week break after the World Cup if we make it right through to the finals, so the timing is not too bad at all."

India are an increasing presence in Australia's annual fixtures and there are both home and away series scheduled for 2007-08.

Although Ponting warned against overkill, he conceded that the financial demands of cricket and general reciprocation of fixtures made it inevitable. …