One team has just endured a 4-0 Test thrashing and been trounced in its opening one-dayer.
The other has not been paid for 10 months and just had its coach and captain sacked.
And barely 4000 tickets have been sold for today's India-Sri Lanka one-dayer at the WACA Ground as Perth fans have voted with their wallets on a dying format.
The intrigue surrounding the silent Sachin Tendulkar has switched from his never-ending bid to score a 100th hundred to the more straightforward dilemma of whether he will even play today.
For all the distractions there should be no question about the value of the contest itself.
The match is the first between the teams since the World Cup final last April when India won with a few balls to spare.
And it includes some of the greatest players to appear in 50-over cricket, including two of the nine players to reach 10,000 runs - Tendulkar and Sri Lanka's newest member of the revolving door captaincy, Mahela Jayawardena.
And it should have the game's only two double centurions - Tendulkar and compatriot Virender Sehwag, if of course, Tendulkar plays.
Sehwag suggested Tendulkar may be rested under India's batting rotation policy, yet it seems unlikely he would miss a chance to reach the elusive milestone on a hard and dry WACA pitch.
"We are giving breaks to the top three batsmen and we will decide tomorrow whether it is Gautam (Gambhir) or Tendulkar's turn," Sehwag said.
Sehwag echoed Cricket Australia's view that 50-over cricket still had much to offer.
"The reality is, in our research, the one-day format shows up as the most popular format in Australia," a Cricket Australia spokesman said this week. "There's always more than 1 million watching on TV."
Sehwag saw the 50-over game holding its own against the solid interest in Test cricket and the popularity of the Twenty20 version.
"Test and one-day cricket will stay longer," Sehwag said. "Even though T20 is growing very fast, 50-over cricket is more challenging and Test cricket is even more challenging."
India have had a dire tour but Sri Lanka face even greater traumas.
The players have not been paid since the World Cup while dramas at board level saw coach Geoff Marsh sacked and replaced by South African Graham Ford and Jayawardena take over as captain from Tillekeratne Dilshan.Vice-captain Angelo Matthews said the players' love of the game enabled them to play despite not being paid.
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