Queensland’s remarkable run of maintaining strict interstate border policies while retaining – and gaining – marquee sporting events could be left in 2020.
The latest COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney is forcing Cricket Australia to rethink its schedule for the rest of the Australia-India Test series – and Cricket NSW has pitched a brazen solution.
Faced with the prospect of losing the traditional New Year’s Test at the SCG, NSW officials are now hoping to host two matches.
The extraordinary proposition comes after positive cases stabilised with daily totals of seven and eight on Thursday and Friday.
The results left Cricket NSW bullish about the SCG Test starting as scheduled on January 7, but they’re also now eyeing the fourth and final match in the series because of the potential for Queensland to keep its borders shut to Sydney.
In that scenario a second pink ball match would be held at the SCG from January 15 – a move that it’s been suggested would be ticked off willingly by India because of the spin-friendly conditions on offer.
“We can run two Tests if necessary, no problems at all,” Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust chairman Tony Shepherd told Nine newspapers.
Back-to-back matches at the MCG, which hosts the Boxing Day Test, before heading to the Gabba for the final match also remains in play but Shepherd isn’t entertaining that idea.
“We’ve made it very clear to Cricket Australia we’re flexible and would be very, very disappointed to lose the Sydney Test,” he said.
“And that’s with the support of the NSW government …
“NSW is the cricket centre of Australia in terms of participation, players at the elite end and at community level. We have the biggest Indian diaspora in Australia.
“The SCG is the most historic ground in Australia, second most historic ground in the world. It’s a special place. The NSW government is very supportive of having the game, and will do everything we can to have it as a success.”
Aussie spinner Nathan Lyon remains hopeful of appearing in Sydney.
“I know that Cricket Australia is doing everything in their power to ensure the third Test match is in Sydney,” Lyon said.
“Hopefully all things go well up in Sydney and more importantly a lot of people stay safe and get well, and fingers crossed our Test match can be at the SCG.”