Plans are under way to allow at least 25,000 spectators in attendance for each day of the Boxing Day Test-match encounter between Australia and India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
This news comes after the city lifted a long Covid-19 lockdown on Wednesday. The iconic venue can seat up to 100,000 fans, meaning a quarter of its capacity could be filled for the much-anticipated encounter.
Victoria state sports minister Martin Pakula has confirmed that the Australian government is working with Cricket Australia and the MCG to plan a safe and secure return to the stands for cricket fans.
‘We’ve been really clear with Cricket Australia and the MCG that we’ll make final decisions about numbers closer to the day, depending on the epidemiological situation that abides at the time,’ he explained.
‘At this stage, [25,000] is what we believe would be the safe and appropriate number per day here at the MCG.’
Given the dependence on strict health guidelines, this plan could significantly change or be abolished by the time the second Test gets under way on 26 December.
Earlier this week India confirmed its touring squads in what will be Virat Kohli’s men’s first international participation since the coronavirus outbreak.
Australia recently conducted a limited-overs tour to England but the tour of India will also be the first cricket they play on home soil.
The tour will start off with an ODI series on 27 November, followed by three T20Is before the opening Test match at the Adelaide Oval takes place from 17-21 December.
After the Boxing Day encounter, the two teams will head to Sydney for the third Test starting on 7 January before the tour concludes in Brisbane for the final red-ball fixture.