Kevin Roberts, the Cricket Australia chief executive, has given India’s tour a “nine out of 10” chance of happening later this year as the game grapples with how to resume amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
He also indicated there was a chance Australia could still undertake their limited-overs trip to England which was originally schedule for July but could happen in September.
The visit of India is vital to Cricket Australia’s financial future with a figure of A$ 300 million attached to it. There have been some positive noises from the BCCI around making the trip that would include four Tests and three ODIs – with a suggestion more one-dayers could be added – even if India are required to quarantine on arrival.
The expectation remains that there will not be crowds at matches during the Australia summer and there could yet be a restricted number of venues used for internationals to aid bio-security measures.
“I guess there’s no such thing as certainty in today’s world so I can’t say 10 [out of 10], but I’m going to say nine out of 10,” Roberts told News Corp. “With the variable being, who would know whether we can have crowds … I’d be really surprised if we can’t get the Indian tour away. But I wouldn’t, hand on heart suggest we’ll have full crowds from the start. We’ll just have to see how that goes.”
It could yet be that the Australia men’s team resumes action overseas with Roberts not ruling out that the tour of England can proceed. CA is in regular conversations with the ECB as they plan for bio-secure series against West Indies and Pakistan in July and August.
“I think there’s some chance we could send a team over,” Roberts said. “Obviously we won’t jeopardise the safety of the players, but the best test of that is that the West Indian and Pakistan tours of England before we’re due to tour. We hope they go off without a hitch.”
The T20 World Cup, which was scheduled at the start of the Australian season in October and November, is unlikely to take place. Further ICC discussions will happen later this month with the expectation it will be moved to some point in 2021 – perhaps a 12-month delay.
Afghanistan are due to visit Australia for a one-off Test in November but it remains to be seen whether that will stay in the schedule. There was also set to be a limited-overs series against Zimbabwe in August, staged in the northern parts of the country, and while that has not yet been officially canned it is not expected to take place although Darwin in the Northern Territory will be the first place in Australia to see cricket resume next month.
Photo: It is looking increasingly hopeful that Virat Kohli and Tim Paine will go head-to-head later this year (Mark Evans/Stringer)