Melbourne, Feb 8: Former India captain Ravi Shastri feels Australia’s cricket rivalry with India has upstaged their traditional Ashes contests against England.
Speaking of the current India tour's financial benefit to Australian cricket, Shastri said it was "bigger than the Ashes." The Indian television rights to the series were huge with the triangular one-day series alone believed to have been worth about $50 million.
Former Australian batsman Dean Jones agreed. "The biggest cricket tournament in the world is India versus Australia. We will earn five to 10 times what we will earn off our Ashes series," Jones told The Age. "Television rights. It's not about bums on seats; you make your dough, about 70 per cent of your income comes from TV. It is massive."
Australia's recent dominance of the sport had fostered a fierce drive among India's young players to compete against it, Shastri said. "The young kids who are coming on the block now from India, they're right in your face, they're not overawed by names and reputations.
The bottom line is they want to compete against the best sides in the world," Shastri said at a Lindsay Hassett Club lunch. "And that's the biggest difference. Respect Australia for the way they play but we're not out there to just fill in the numbers; they're out there to compete.
And that's the attitude they bring to the table. If there's one team competing against Australia, it's India."