Border-Gavaskar Trophy: MCG remains the backup venue for third Test
The Melbourne Cricket Ground remains the preferred backup venue for the third Test of the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Cricket Australia (CA), on Thursday, confirmed the development, as the outbreak of COVID-19 continues to surge on Sydney's northern beaches. As per the original schedule, the third Test is due to be played at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) from January 7-11. Here is more.
A look at what Cricket Australia stated
While CA remains committed to the original plan, it also highlighted the need for a contingency plan. "Should the public health situation in NSW render playing in Sydney untenable, CA's preferred contingency plan is to work with the Victorian Government to play the third Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground followed by the fourth one at the Gabba," it stated.
The COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney led to border restrictions
Both Australia and India are currently in Melbourne for the Boxing Day Test, starting December 26. Notably, the third and fourth Tests are originally slated for Sydney and Brisbane respectively. However, a fresh outbreak of the COVID-19 cases on Sydney's northern beaches has led to subsequent border restrictions imposed by the local health authorities. This has forced CA to reconsider the plans.
Previously, CA maintained that SCG will host the third Test
Earlier, the cricket board maintained that the Sydney Test will remain on schedule despite the fresh outbreak. CA's interim CEO, Nick Hockley, had said, "there is enough time to assess the evolving public health situation on the northern beaches of Sydney."
The final call likely to be taken during MCG Test
It is understood that the final call regarding this will be taken during the second 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," Hockley said. "We continue to place the safety and well-being of everyone involved as our number one priority."
CA working with Queensland government for getting certain exemptions
That apart, Cricket Australia is also working closely with the Queensland government to secure the required exemptions. This will enable players, match officials, broadcasters, media, and staff to move from Sydney to Brisbane if the border restrictions remain rigid at that time. Notably, the final Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy will be played at The Gabba (Brisbane) from January 15-19.