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IND vs AUS 2020: Melbourne ready to hold back-to-back Tests if Sydney match gets shifted

The MCG is open to the possibility of holding back-to-back India vs Australia Tests this summer
The MCG is open to the possibility of holding back-to-back India vs Australia Tests this summer
Wasiq Agha
ANALYST
Modified 18 Dec 2020, 14:17 IST
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Reports from Australian media suggest that Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) is open to the idea of holding back-to-back India vs Australia Tests in the event of the New Year’s Test at Sydney being shifted.

Sydney has seen another rise of COVID-19 cases in recent days which has put the city’s cricket officials on high-alert.

The MCG is set to host the iconic Boxing Day Test from December 26, but Melbourne Cricket Club chief Stuart Fox on Friday hinted that they are ready to host the New Year’s Test scheduled in three weeks if required.

“We hope that doesn’t happen to Sydney. We know what it’s like to lose a major event. For us, all focus is on the Boxing Day Test. We’re here to support Cricket Australia if need be."

Sydney COVID-19 situation has already put officials on alert

With the 3rd India vs Australia Test set to take place in Sydney from January 7, officials are concerned about the rising COVID-19 cases, a problem which could put the Test in doubt.

The northern beaches of the city have currently seen a surge in cases, and currently, there is no threat to the Sydney Test, with the Sydney Cricket Ground located in the eastern suburbs.

However, the COVID-19 situation saw all Premier and Shires cricket matches cancelled over the weekend, with Cricket Australia admitting that they are keeping a close eye on the developments.

Speaking to the media, CA chief executive Nick Hockley said that it is currently a “watch, wait and see approach” as he reiterated that this is precisely the reason the body has hubs in place.

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After the region saw a rise in cases, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said her state was on “high alert” and hinted at further restrictions if the situation isn’t controlled over the coming days.

“If we get on top of this in the next two or three days, all of us will be able to have a much better Christmas but if we don’t get on top of it in the next few days, it could mean further restrictions down the track,”

What happens if the Sydney Test gets rescheduled?

Addressing the possibility of the Sydney Test being impacted due to the COVID-19 situation, Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust chairman Tony Shepherd expressed hope that the India vs Australia clash will go ahead as scheduled.

“As far as we are concerned, the Test is going ahead. It’s all systems go but the government is focused on this outbreak ... what happens with the Test will be determined by what the circumstances are at that time. Nobody is panicking,” 

However, if indeed the 3rd Test match has to be scheduled, the match could be shifted to the Melbourne Cricket Ground, with Sydney Morning Herald suggesting that the game could begin on the original date. 

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While the ground staff at MCG would ideally like five days to prepare for a 2nd Test, the match could even begin at an earlier date, since the two teams would not need to travel. Another option could see Canberra hold the 3rd Test as well if the opportunity arises. 

Published 18 Dec 2020, 14:17 IST
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