The Melbourne Cricket Ground has been confirmed as a back-up venue for the third Test between India and Australia, which is slated to be held in Sydney. Amid a COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney’s northern beaches, Cricket Australia announced the MCG as a back-up venue for the third Test from January 7, even as they work towards ensuring that the match is played at the Sydney Cricket Ground as per the original schedule. If CA has to shift venues, it would see the MCG host back-to-back Test matches, with the Boxing Day Test set to take place there starting December 26.
“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 was quoted as saying in a statement by cricket.com.au.
“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,” Hockley added.
If the third Test does go through in Sydney, another issue that arises is the fourth Test, which is set to be played at the Gabba in Brisbane.
Queensland have shut their border to anyone travelling from the greater Sydney area, meaning that CA may have to shift the fourth match out of Brisbane, but Hockley said they were “working constructively” with the Queensland Government to secure the necessary travel exemptions to allow key personnel to travel into the state when required.
The MCG, which has become Australia’s traditional Boxing Day venue, has not hosted a January Test since 1990 when Allan Border’s Australia beat Pakistan by 92 runs, with Mark Taylor scoring a century and Terry Alderman taking a five-wicket haul in the fourth innings.
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