Cricket Australia has confirmed that the MCG will be the preferred backup venue for the third Test, should the SCG be unable to host the game owing to the fresh COVID-19 outbreak in New South Wales. There were speculations as to whether the Gabba in Brisbane would be chosen to host the New Year's match instead of the SCG. However, CA cleared the air and confirmed that the MCG was the preferred venue.
"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" - Cricket Australia
India and Australia were initially scheduled to fly to Sydney to play the third Test following the Boxing Day Test at the MCG while the Gabba was slated to host the fourth and final Test match. However, a fresh COVID-19 outbreak in the northern beaches of Sydney and the subsequent travel restrictions imposed by the New South Wales health authorities have forced CA to rethink its plans.
Cricket Australia's interim CEO, Nick Hockley, said the final call would be taken during the Boxing Day Test.
Safety and wellbeing of everyone involved is our number one priority, says Hockley
CA is also said to be working closely with the Queensland government in order to ensure that all players, match officials, broadcasters, media and staff are able to travel to Brisbane for the fourth Test should the SCG host the third Test as scheduled.
"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 wellbeing of everyone involved as our number one priority." - Nick Hockley
"The record testing numbers and the drop in new community transmissions in NSW have provided cause for optimism. However, if the situation in Sydney deteriorates, we have strong contingency plans in place. We are working constructively with the Queensland Government and have been encouraged by the positive nature of discussions with them," added Hockley
Should Sydney be rendered unable to host the third Test, the MCG is set to host back to back games. This, however, might prove to be a blessing in disguise for a deflated Indian team as the MCG is where they have had the most success in Test matches Down Under. You can read more about India's record at the MCG here.Published 24 Dec 2020, 20:43 IST