New Delhi:The Commonwealth Games in October will compete for attention with India's obsession with cricket after a high-profile home series against Australia was announced on Thursday.
Ricky Ponting's men will play two Tests and three one-day internationals in India between October 2 to 24, clashing with the Games which take place in New Delhi from Oct 3-14.
Australia will begin the month-long tour with a three-day practice match in the northern town of Mohali from September 27-29, the Indian cricket board (BCCI) said in a statement.
The two Tests in Mohali (Oct 2-6) and Bangalore (Oct 10-14) coincide with the Games, while the three one-dayers will be held in Kochi (Oct 19), Goa (Oct 22) and Visakhapatnam (Oct 24).
Is it fair for the BCCI to schedule an India-Australia series at the same time as the Commonwealth Games?
Australia were originally due to play seven one-day internationals, but the BCCI requested them to switch to two Tests and three one-dayers.
India are currently ranked number one in the official Test rankings, while Australia are placed second.
Although New Delhi does not figure in Australia's itinerary, millions of television viewers will be glued to the cricket when the Games are on.
Cricket has such a strong following in India that organisers of the field hockey World Cup in New Delhi in March advanced the tournament by a week so that it would not clash with the Indian Premier League.
The BCCI annoyed India's Olympic officials last month after it refused to send the men's and women's cricket teams to the Asian Games in China in November.
"The BCCI is not taking part because there is no money to be made at the Asian Games," said Indian Olympic Association chief Suresh Kalmadi, who heads the Commonwealth Games organising committee.
"They think only of money. I am glad cricket is not part of the Commonwealth Games."
Cricket, a non-Olympic sport, was last seen at a major multi-sport event at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, but was dropped for the next two editions in England and Australia.