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Regular-article-logo Monday, 24 June 2024

Cricket Australia mulls 4 venues for India

The second Test is set to be the first-ever Day-Night pink-ball affair between the 2 sides

TT Bureau Calcutta Published 27.05.20, 09:47 PM
Pat Cummins

Pat Cummins (Shutterstock)

India are likely to begin their Test leg of the tour Down Under in Brisbane with the opening game tentatively set for a December 3 start, Australian media reported on Wednesday. That’s of course if the tour gets the green light.

The second Test, expected in Adelaide from December 11, is set to be the first-ever Day-Night pink-ball affair between the two sides.

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The third Test is likely to begin on Boxing Day (December 26) in Melbourne, while the final one, in Sydney, expected from January 3 next year.

This also means the series would feature four Tests and not five as had been earlier requested by Cricket Australia.

The Telegraph, in its report published on May 8, had said that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was unlikely to accede to CA’s request for five Test matches, making it clear to the latter that such a proposal would be considered only during future engagements.

The Australian cricket board has been reeling from a financial crisis since the onset of the pandemic, and the uncertainty surrounding the sport resulted in retrenchments and up to 80 per cent pay cut of its employees.

According to the reports, Cricket Australia’s chief executive Kevin Roberts will make the schedule official on Friday and the plan does not include any quarantine hub or “bio bubble” for Virat Kohli and his team members.

According to a report in The Sydney Morning Herald, Roberts, during his virtual meeting with the rest of the staff, said CA’s financial future remained uncertain despite his high confidence that the lucrative series against India would proceed.

Roberts is believed to have said he did not want people to think the organisation was immune from the ongoing economic impact of the pandemic, which was having a significant toll around the world.

He said it was important to keep a “balanced perspective” and that India touring did not mean CA was not exposed to other economic risks, the report added.

Whether there is any chance of a big turnout at matches during the Australian summer will depend on developments at the government level regarding mass gatherings.

The Australian Test summer, meanwhile, is scheduled to kick off at the Waca in Perth with a pink-ball match against Afghanistan — the first meeting between the two nations in the traditional format. Efforts were made for a Test versus India at the Optus Stadium in Perth — where Australia secured their one victory in the 2018-19 season — with matches on the west coast also favourable to the Indian time zone.

But it appears Perth will have to make do with an ODI against the Indians this time.

If the Afghanistan Test goes ahead as planned, it will be the first at the Waca in three years.

Given the presence of two Test venues in Perth, the state association had put itself forward as a hub venue along with Adelaide if the India tour had to be based in a restricted number of cities for bio-security reasons.

There are T20Is against the West Indies and India in northern Queensland leading into the T20 World Cup, though those games hinge on the tournament going ahead as planned in October.

The ODI series against India, on the other hand, may expand from the current set of three matches.

There is a chance that Australia could still travel overseas this year with the possibility of the limited-overs tour of England, which was due for July, moving to September.

If the chalked-out schedule versus India turns out to be official, it will bear a strong resemblance to the tour back in 2003-04 when the Sourav Ganguly-led side played four Tests, starting with the first in Brisbane, followed by those in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. That was also the farewell series of Steve Waugh and ended 1-1.

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