20 Jul

Australia's limited-overs tour to England is set to go ahead in September, with the touring party likely to fly to the UK on a private charter plane.

The teams are due to play three Twenty20 matches and three one-day internationals in a series originally scheduled for July.

Matches will now be played from September 4-15 with the three T20s played on September 4, 6 and 8, before the ODIs take place on September 10, 12 and 15.

Like the rest of England's summer schedule, all matches are set to be played at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton and Old Trafford, Manchester, the only two international grounds that have hotels on site with sufficient capacity to host both teams, the match officials and broadcasters.

But it is thought that the Australian party, unlike the West Indies and Pakistan, will not have to quarantine for two weeks before the series as the UK government does not impose such a restriction on Australians.

The tourists have already named an extended 26-man preliminary squad for the England series.

Should Australia fulfil their tour, it would be a huge boost for the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), as it would mean that England would be able to play all their scheduled men's summer fixtures. Fulfilling all their commitments will be worth £280 million ($502 million) in broadcasting revenue to the ECB, and will help with the governing body's finances, even though the sport in the UK still stands to lose £100 million from the impact of COVID-19 this summer.

Meanwhile, a meeting of the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Monday (20 July) is expected to confirm the decision to postpone the T20 World Cup, which was scheduled to be played in Australia in October and November. If the decision is taken, it will pave the way for the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League to be rescheduled.

The IPL is now likely to be played from September to November, with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) reported to be planning to stage the tournament from September 26 to November 7.

Due to COVID-19 – India has had more than one million cases, the third highest figure in the world – the competition is set to be played in the United Arab Emirates.

John Stephenson



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