Australia eye India test for revival
Cricket Australia (CA) is mulling the prospect of turning the earlier scheduled four-match Test series versus India into a five-game contest as it continues to look for ways to compensate the financial losses incurred following the coronavirus outbreak.
Apart from expanding the Border-Gavaskar Trophy to five Tests, housing Virat Kohli and Co. in a new hotel at Adelaide Oval and possibly shifting the Big Bash League within the Australian summer are among the “creative” solutions that CA is exploring to make the 2020-21 season happen.
CA chief executive Kevin Roberts on Tuesday outlined a range of scenarios being discussed to resume cricket, even if matches have to be staged in empty stadiums.
Roberts confirmed that the idea of expanding the Border-Gavaskar Trophy to five matches has been discussed with the BCCI in recent years with an eye to the next programming cycle due to start in 2023.
“We’ve discussed a shared desire to evolve to a five-Test series between Australia and India in the future, just like both our nations play five-Tests series against England,” Roberts was quoted as saying by the CA website.
“It’s something we’re both committed to, in principle, in the future and the big question is whether or not we can bring that in before the next Future Tours (Program) cycle in 2023.
“We don’t know what realistic prospect there is of that next season, but certainly with a changing landscape that’s moving every single day, we won’t rule out the possibility of that until we get closer to the time, even though all the planning has been done based on a four-Test series thus far.”
Roberts also confirmed that CA would consider housing the Indian contingent at a “quarantine hub” such as Adelaide Oval’s yet-to-be-completed 128-room hotel where the visitors could remain to train and play during the Test series without the need for additional travel. This suggests all the Test matches could be played at Adelaide Oval.
The Australian board has been exploring a bio-security plan that would include chartered flights for players and support staff, a period of isolation upon arrival and access to training amenities that a venue such as Adelaide Oval and its adjacent No. 2 ground can provide.
“At this point, we won’t rule anything out in terms of the Indian series. Along with the BCCI and the Indian players and support staff, we want to stage a series that inspires the cricket world whether there’s people at the venue, sitting in the stands, or not,” Roberts said.
Bullish on T20 Cup
CA remains hopeful of staging the men’s T20 World Cup scheduled for October and November, and continues to take the federal government’s advice on how it might take place while adhering to health advice and guidelines.
The future of the T20 World Cup is also shrouded in uncertainty because of the global health crisis.
“We might not generate financial returns from that event that are as significant as the international cricket season (in Australia),” Roberts said.
“But what we do know is that the bigger returns from the broadcast rights around the event that are generated by the ICC are very important to all of our counterparts around the cricket world.
“So it’s incumbent on us to do everything possible to stage the T20 World Cup.”
CA has laid off 80 per cent of its staff for the rest of the financial year which ends on June 30. Reports suggest the Board will run out of cash by August.