BBC Radio's iconic cricket show faces axe

'Test Match Special' may be shelved during the tour of India, thanks to the BCCI's demand for GBP 50,000 as licensing fee.

English cricket lovers face being deprived of overseas commentary from BBC Radio's iconic Test Match Special for the first time in almost 40 years as Indian officials are demanding an extra GBP 50,000 from the British broadcasting network.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has broken from convention by demanding that the BBC pays the extra amount to cover the costs of broadcast facilities during the upcoming Test series between England and India, while Sky Television has been told that it must pay about 500,000 pounds.

Both broadcasters insisted that the fees were not mentioned by the BCCI when the agreements to cover the series were finalised six weeks ago, the Daily Mail reports.

"We are continuing talks with the relevant authorities in India about what we regard as unreasonable demands for facility fees," a BBC spokesperson confirmed.

However, a defiant BCCI official said they didn't make any undue demands and the amount asked was appropriate.

"It is not as if they have only asked for a commentary box. They have demanded a full control room, just like the one our host broadcaster has at every venue," the official said.

"If you have to create an additional space of 2,000 sq ft, fully air-conditioned, it will bear a lot of cost. And neither the BCCI nor any of our affiliated units who would be hosting the match would bear the additional cost," he added.