HERE's a sobering fact - of every dollar raised in world cricket, 81 cents is generated by India .
Here's another one - whatever money Australia makes out of this summer's Ashes series it will budget to make four times as much when India tours here again.
India is the home not just of the sacred cow but the cash cow as well. The secret for other nations is to learn how to milk the cow not to run scared into the next paddock when they hear a stray "moo''. You cannot fight India 's influence in cricket. That battle has been long lost.
Australia should not be scared of Indian money propping up its own domestic scene. If anyone can profit out of owning an Australian interstate cricket team they should be immediately recruited for more important challenges such as finding a cure for breast cancer or tracking down Osama bin Laden.
Even the Indian Premier League teams - with all their giant television rights and fabulous crowds - averaged $7 million losses in their opening year. If Cricket Australia officials want to have a whinge about India let them do so about how a bus full of Australian players have spent the last three years in the Indian Premier League and Australian cricket has barely got a round of drinks out of it.
Here's a chance for payback.
Domestic cricket is Australia is in a parlous state. The new 45 over competition has been totally underwhelming, regularly attracting crowds of fewer than 1000 people. The Sheffield Shield attracts even less and it is not even on television. A survey done by Cricket Australia showed that cricket has dropped off the radar of Australians under 30 where dancing, walking and tennis were rated above it in favorite past-times.
The game needs a pep pill and it needs it fast.
The new city based Twenty20 competition is a gamble Australia must take but it needs private investment badly because it is almost certain teams will make substantial losses. With two domestic competitions already making multi-million dollar losses the thought of a third ball and chain competition would be too much to bear unless there is someone to share the financial load.
The new concept is not flawless. There is a chance the Australian public will find it all a bit superficial Australian officials should have nothing to fear from Indian ownership of Australian teams.
As a wise man once said, keep your friends close and your enemies closer.