CA confirms India tour of Oz dates; Boxing Day Test with fans

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MELBOURNE: Cricket Australia has confirmed the changes to the schedule for the eagerly anticipated Vodafone Test series, Dettol ODI Series and Dettol Twenty20 International Series between the Australian and Indian men’s teams.

India will kick off their tour to Australia with a three-match ODI series starting on Friday, 27 November, followed by as many T20Is and four Tests.

The first two ODIs will be played at the Sydney Cricket Ground (27, 29 November) and the third at the Manuka Oval in Canberra (2 December). The ODI leg will form a part of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League, in which Australia currently sit second, while the series will be India’s first in the competition.

In their last ODI series, Australia defeated world champions England on their own turf by a 2-1 margin, while India hold a slight edge over the hosts in the 50-over format, with a 12-10 win-loss record against them over the past five years. 

The two teams will then compete in the three-match T20I series in Canberra (4 December) and Sydney (6, 8 December). Australia are currently ranked No.1 in the MRF Tyres ICC Men's T20I Team Rankings and posted a thrilling 2-0 away series win over India last year. India, however, hold a 5-4 win-loss advantage over Australia in the last 10 T20Is. 

After the completion of the ODIs and T20Is, the two sides will kick off the famous Border-Gavaskar Trophy, forming a part of the ICC World Test Championship. The battle for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy will begin with a day-night encounter at the Adelaide Oval on December 17, followed by Tests at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (December 26), the Sydney Cricket Ground (January 7) and the Gabba (January 15). 

The Adelaide fixture will be the first day-night Test played between the Australian and Indian men’s teams, adding historic significance to a series between two of cricket’s greatest rivals. 

With India currently on top of the World Test Championship table and Australia in second, the series promises to be a thriller. Australia are No.1 on the MRF Tyres ICC Men's Test Team Rankings, though. India, meanwhile, have won three of their previous four series against Australia, including a first-ever Test series win on Australian soil in 2018/19.

Nick Hockley, CA’s interim chief executive officer, thanked the Board of Control for Cricket in India for working constructively with Cricket Australia despite the challenging coronavirus pandemic. 

“Across all three formats, Australia and India represents one of the great rivalries in world sport and we are delighted to welcome Virat Kohli’s outstanding squad to Australian shores this summer,” Hockley said.  

“We have worked closely with the BCCI for many months to bring this tour to life, and I cannot speak more highly of the professional, thorough and collaborative manner with which they have approached this tour in these extraordinary and complex times. 

“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. 

“We would also like to especially thank the NSW government for allowing players from both teams to safely prepare during quarantine, as well as other governments and health authorities who have worked with us to host a series which, I have no doubt, will live long in the memories of all who experience it. 

“I would also like to thank everyone across Australian cricket and our valued partners for working tirelessly to navigate through the challenges to deliver a schedule that will bring joy and excitement to hundreds of millions of fans at home and abroad. 

“The safety of the Australian community and all participants is our highest priority and we will continue to work with governments across Australia to ensure the schedule proceeds in line with relevant directions and biosecurity protocols. In relation to the Boxing Day Test at the MCG, we are working with the Victorian government and the Melbourne Cricket Club on plans to safely host spectators at the iconic event with details to be confirmed in due course.”

25,000 to attend Boxing Day Test at the MCG
Melbourne, Australia’s second most populous city, was released from a coronavirus lockdown on Wednesday, with retail and hospitality businesses opening their doors for the first time in months.

Reuters quotes Victoria state sports minister Martin Pakula said the government would develop a plan with Cricket Australia and the MCG to allow the famed 100,000-seat stadium to be at one-quarter capacity for the Test.

“We’ve been really clear with Cricket Australia and the MCG that we’ll make final decisions about numbers closer to the day, depending on the epidemiological situation that abides at the time,” he said.

“At this stage, (25,000) is what we believe would be the safe and appropriate number per day here at the MCG.”

Pakula said he would not rule out raising the cap if the health situation allowed.

NSW Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres said: “The NSW government is pleased to support Cricket Australia and ensure that Australians get to see a Summer of cricket.” 

NSW Acting Minister for Sport, Geoff Lee said: “We can’t wait to host one of the world’s best teams for a terrific summer of cricket with the SCG ready to host the third test in January. NSW loves its cricket and we are so pleased we could work hand in hand with Cricket Australia to make this series happen.”

In addition to the international fixtures, CA can also confirm dates for tour matches ahead of the Vodafone Test series. India A will take on Australia A at Drummoyne Oval (December 6-8), and India will play Australia A in a day-night match at the Sydney Cricket Ground (December 11-13). 

India’s squad will arrive in Sydney on November 12 subject to Australian Border Force travel authorisation and the appropriate departure-approvals. The team will quarantine in Sydney prior to the first match of the series on November 27.  

Full schedule 
ODIs
27 November, Sydney Cricket Ground 
29 November, Sydney Cricket Ground 
2 December, Manuka Oval

T20Is
4 December, Manuka Oval 
6 December, Sydney Cricket Ground
8 December, Sydney Cricket Ground 

Tests
17-21 December, Adelaide Oval (Day/Night)
26-30 December, Melbourne Cricket Ground
7-11 January, Sydney Cricket Ground
15-19 January, The Gabba