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Aussies ready to shoulder burden for cricket’s revival

Australia has committed to being in two places at once in February, as Justin Langer’s outfit goes above and beyond to rescue cricket’s battlers from financial ruin.Cricket Australia could have two teams playing simultaneously on opposite sides of the globe, with Tim Paine’s Test team due to travel to South Africa at the same time…

Australia has committed to being in two places at once in February, as Justin Langer’s outfit goes above and beyond to rescue cricket’s battlers from financial ruin.

Cricket Australia could have two teams playing simultaneously on opposite sides of the globe, with Tim Paine’s Test team due to travel to South Africa at the same time as Aaron Finch takes a white ball side to New Zealand.

South African cricket is currently in crisis – both with COVID-19 and the state of its board – and there is real doubt over the scheduled three-Test tour going ahead, although Australia want it to.

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But even if South Africa do pull it off, it’s understood Cricket Australia has told New Zealand it would still send a white ball side across the Tasman as well.

The Kiwis are so desperate for cricketing content to help fill its coffers they would even take what would effectively be an Australia A team.

Despite the fact it’s still fighting through its own scheduling dramas for this summer, Cricket Australia interim boss Nick Hockley says it’s the nation’s duty, as a powerful cricketing nation, to help its rivals recover.

“Sport around the globe has been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and it is incumbent upon all of us to play our part in helping international cricket back to a healthy position,” said CA interim chief, Nick Hockley.

“Hosting this series is of vital importance to NZC and we stand ready to assist them, as we did the ECB with the recent white ball series in England.

“Every board will have to make compromises and sacrifices to help the international game recover from the impacts of COVID-19 and we are happy to do our bit.

“This is a unique set of circumstances brought on by the pandemic and is not something we envisage replicating regularly in future.”

New Zealand released a schedule on Tuesday which has Australia playing five Twenty20 matches in NZ from February 22.

The International Future Tours Program has Australia in South Africa for three Test matches between February and March.

This series against South Africa is crucial to the ICC Test Championship, which Australia is on track to qualify for the final at Lord’s in June next year, provided COVID-19 doesn’t derail the competition.

Separating two teams to play at the same time, has happened before.

The last time Australia toured South Africa for Tests in the infamous ball-tampering series, an advance party of Test players went to Africa to prepare, while select white ball stars including David Warner and Mitchell Starc helped spearhead a below-strength Australian T20 team in New Zealand, before joining their teammates late.

In late 2014, Australia played a T20 series against South Africa at home, while the Test team was playing Pakistan in the UAE.

It’s hardly ideal, but the smaller nations, who were already financially affected, are now battling to stay afloat following COVID-19.

New Zealand were due to host Australia in white ball matches earlier this year before COVID-19 wiped them out.

Australia’s male players will be asked to make incredible sacrifices this year, and face bulk periods in quarantine if international travelling plans go ahead.

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Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus.