The four Tests of the much-anticipated series between India and Australia is to commence on 3 December. The games will be played at Gabba, Adelaide Oval, MCG and the SCG respectively. It is part of Team India’s Australia tour of three ODIs and four Tests in December and January.
The travelling Indian cricket team will have to undergo a mandatory two-week quarantine period. Earlier this month, BCCI President Sourav Ganguly had hoped for a shorter quarantine period.
“Australia and New Zealand have been in good positions except Melbourne. So from that point of view we will be going there and hopefully the quarantine days will be less and we can get back to cricket,” he said.
Also, with the T20 World Cup getting postponed, it is likely that the IPL will be hosted in the same window. This means returning Australian players, if any, will also have to follow quarantine protocols as well.
“The two-week quarantine is pretty well-defined,” said Nick Hockley, acting chief executive of CA. “What we are working on is making sure that even within that quarantine environment, the players have got the absolute best training facilities, so that their preparation for the matches is as optimal as it can possibly be. We’ll obviously take the guidance of the health experts and the authorities.
“Whether it’s a hotel on-site or hotels in close proximity to venues, it’s certainly about creating that environment where we are minimising risk of infections and creating a biosecure environment is the absolute priority.”
Hockley compared Adelaide Oval to Old Trafford or Ageas Bowl where players can stay at an on-venue hotel and prepare for the matches.
He also opened up to the prospect of top Australian stars missing the start of their domestic season if it clashes with the IPL.
“I think the BCCI have made no secrets that they are considering what that means for the IPL,” Hockley said. “For us it’s about getting a bit of an understanding and certainty around what that means. Clearly in a normal course, some of our best players are obviously top picks for those IPL teams. It’s a bit premature to speculate on that.”
Although the matches behind closed doors has received a lukewarm response, Australian batsman Usman Khawaja said playing the Indian cricket team behind closed doors might end up working in favour of the hosts.
“Especially in Melbourne, the amount of expats they have over there, they flock in. And when India’s on top they really let you know it,” he said. “It’s a really weird feeling. When you’re in India, you expect to be outnumbered massively but you can be outnumbered in Melbourne, as well as Sydney to some extent.”