The host broadcaster of the India vs Australia Test series has admitted that logistical challenges in light of the recent spurt of COVID-19 cases in Sydney make the 3rd Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground “less preferable”.
The Sydney Test, scheduled to start on January 7, has been in doubt ever since the Queensland government shut down New South Wales altogether till January 8.
Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, Fox Cricket general manager Matt Weiss expounded that even if the Sydney Test goes ahead, the logistical challenges make it a less preferable option for the broadcasters.
"There's certainly health-and-safety concerns that need to be worked through with a crew of about 100. And with the lack of movement of that crew after a Sydney Test, it creates logistical issues that make it a less preferable option at this stage.”
Will the Sydney Test go ahead as scheduled?
As of now, the Sydney Test is set to go ahead as scheduled, with Cricket Australia’s interim chief executive Nick Hockley telling an all-staff meeting on Monday that the match will go ahead if it can be safely delivered.
With Fox Cricket and Seven keen to avoid a 14-day quarantine for commentators and production staff, the broadcasters are looking into the possibility of covering the Sydney Test remotely, just like the Boxing Day Test.
For the upcoming Melbourne Test, Kerry O'Keeffe, Brett Lee and Mark Waugh will be commentating from Sydney, while Shane Warne and others will cover the match from Melbourne.
“Obviously, we're really keen for the Sydney Test to go ahead. But it creates much bigger logistical issues than what a second Test in Melbourne does. It means essentially that crew would have to be from Sydney because you can't bring them in from anywhere else and then fly them out to another Test or the Big Bash."
Seven Melbourne managing director and head of sport Lewis Martin echoed similar sentiments. He explained that they would not be sending commentators to Sydney if they need the same staff to travel around Australia for the rest of the summer.
While a decision on whether the Sydney Test will go ahead as scheduled will be taken later, Cricket Australia has several contingency plans if the Test can't take place at the SCG.
One option is to have two back-to-back Tests at Melbourne, with another possibility being swapping the Brisbane and Sydney Tests. Canberra can also host the 3rd India vs Australia Test if the opportunity arises.Published 22 Dec 2020, 11:04 IST