The Melbourne Cricket Ground is in line to host back-to-back Test matches this summer but Cricket Australia is giving Sydney every opportunity to get the COVID-19 outbreak under control before making a final decision on the venue for the third Test match.
An outbreak of coronavirus in Sydney’s northern beaches has put CA officials on high alert with an emergency meeting of CA’s Board and a steering committee of administrators working to plan for contingencies.
CA today announced the MCG as the back-up venue if the SCG is unable to host the third Test against India from 7 January, while the intention is for the Gabba to remain the venue for the series finale from 15 January.
A final decision on the venue for the third Test will be made during the Boxing Day Test.
‘We have always maintained that scheduling a full summer of cricket during a global pandemic would require agility, problem-solving and teamwork like never before,’ Cricket Australia’s interim CEO Nick Hockley said in a statement.
‘We continue to place the safety and wellbeing of everyone involved as our number one priority. The record testing numbers and the drop in new community transmissions in NSW have provided cause for optimism, however if the situation in Sydney deteriorates, we have strong contingency plans in place.’
Complicating matters for the Australia and India teams and associated events, broadcast and media contingents are state border closures, with the Queensland border now shut to anyone coming from the greater Sydney area.
Keeping the SCG Test as scheduled would put the Gabba Test, scheduled from 15 January, in jeopardy, but moving between Melbourne and Brisbane would not – as things stand today – require any quarantine period.
Hockley stated the governing body was ‘working constructively’ with the Queensland Government to secure the necessary travel exemptions to allow key personnel to travel into the state when required.
– CA Media