Cricket

India-Australia Test series: Boxing Day Test to stay in Melbourne if crowds are allowed, says CA

The iconic MCG will not lose out on hosting India for the Boxing Day test if crowds are allowed inside the stadium, Cricket Australia (CA) interim chief executive Nick Hockley said on Saturday.

It is being speculated that the Boxing Day Test during India’s tour later this year could be shifted to Adelaide in the wake of rising number of coronavirus cases in the state of Victoria.

“It comes down to if we can get a crowd at the MCG we’ll play at the MCG,” Hockley was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.

“All the restrictions that are ongoing, we are just hopeful that they take very quick effect and we get back on top of the situation and people can get out and about, we can get back to crowds and get back to live events.”

Hockley said the CA is full steam ahead with the planning “in the anticipation that we’ll be back to some level of normalcy by that point in time“.

“It’s one of the most iconic events on the Australian sporting calendar. Certainly at this stage we are planning full steam ahead.

“We’re in really constructive discussions with the BCCI (the Indian cricket board) and the government to make sure we get all the travel exemptions for India to come,” he said.

The Melbourne Cricket Ground, one of the iconic venues in world cricket, had hosted 86,174 fans for the women’s World Cup final in March this year.

“We are having to remain agile, certainly we’re looking at contingency planning across the entire summer. Not necessarily specific to certain matches, but our entire events,” said Hockley.

“As things change we’re doing everything we can and we have all the back-up arrangements to make sure we get cricket played.”

Victoria, Australia's second-most populous state, is at the centre of a second wave of infections in the country, accounting for more than two-thirds of the national tally of nearly 21,000 cases.

The southeastern state, of which Melbourne is the capital, has recorded 181 deaths, almost 70% of the Australia's fatalities from the pandemic.

Hockley said the new wave of infections only showed that Cricket Australia had to be “agile and flexible” with their plans for not just the four-test, three one-day match tour by India but the entire domestic and international schedule.

“As we have seen with the winter codes, we need to be agile and flexible all the way through,” Hockley said.

“As, when and if things change, we are doing everything we can that we make sure we have all the backup arrangements and can get cricket played.”

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2020 6:01:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/india-australia-test-series-too-early-to-decide-on-shifting-venue-from-melbourne-says-ca/article32301583.ece

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