28 Oct

Cricket Australia (CA) has said fans will be permitted into the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) for the second Test in the upcoming series with India.

CA said it is now working with the Victorian Government to develop a Covid-19 safety plan to enable members and fans to attend the Boxing Day Test.

Crowd numbers will be confirmed closer to the match, but will be capped at approximately 25,000, around a quarter of the MCG’s capacity.

The crowd numbers however could be increased if the Covid-19 infection rate is under control. Melbourne has been under a strict anti-virus lockdown which was eased today (28 October), allowing businesses to open their doors for the first time in months.

CA also announced that the MCG will host both international and domestic cricket for the next three summers. Australia are due to host England in 2021 and South Africa in 2022.

The Indian squad meanwhile is scheduled to arrive in Australia on November 12 and will quarantine in Sydney prior to the first match, a three-match Dettol ODI series at the Sydney Cricket Ground starting on November 27.

The first of the four Test matches will begin with a day-night match at the Adelaide Oval on December 17, followed by the Boxing Day Test at MCG on December 26, the Sydney Cricket Ground on January 7 and the Gabba on January 15.

The announcement of the fixtures should help pacify CA’s broadcast partners, who have frequently expressed their frustration at the lack of a confirmed schedule.

Australian free-to-air commercial broadcaster Seven recently filed paperwork with the Australian Chamber for International and Commercial Arbitration in a bid to cut its rights fees for the season.

CA’s financial position will also improve with India’s four-test tour worth an estimated A$300m (US$214m) to the governing body.

CA had planned to release the schedule earlier but complications over the biosecurity arrangements for the Indian team were only confirmed last week, when the NSW government approved the biosafety plan for the Indian team and their families.

Commenting on the tour Nick Hockley, CA’s interim chief executive officer said, “I would like to express my gratitude to everyone at the BCCI for the faith and support they have shown in the plan we have developed, which we believe will result in a safe and successful summer for all involved.”

John Stephenson


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