AUS vs IND: Sydney offers to host two Tests

The Sydney Cricket Ground Trust offers to host the fourth Test, too, in a bid to retain the hosting rights of the New-Year Test.

The SCG is scheduled to host the third Australia-India Test from January 2. - GETTY IMAGES

In a bid to retain the hosting rights of the New-Year Test between Australia and India, the Sydney Cricket Ground Trust has offered to host the fourth Test scheduled for Brisbane, too, if the Queensland government refused to grant exemptions to the teams returning from New South Wales.

Cricket Australia (CA) was put on high alert earlier this month after an outbreak of the COVID-19 virus in the northern beaches in Sydney, where the third Test is scheduled to be held from January 7.

Even though the situation in northern beaches has improved, there are concerns that Queensland may close its border with New South Wales, which means players and broadcasting crews will not be able to travel from Sydney to Brisbane between the third and fourth Tests.

'No problems'

“We can run two Tests if necessary, no problems at all,” Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust chairman Tony Shepherd told The Age.

Under the circumstances, Melbourne, which will host the second Test from December 26, has emerged as the frontrunner to host the third Test as well.

However, CA has asserted that the SCG remains its preferred venue for the third Test.

“We’ve made it very clear to Cricket Australia we’re flexible and would be very, very disappointed to lose the Sydney Test. And that’s with the support of the NSW government,” Shepherd said.

'Special place'

NSW had come to CA’s aid in October when, after lengthy discussions and negotiations, Queensland’s health department denied the cricket body’s request to allow Indian and Australian players returning from the IPL to train while serving their 14-day quarantine.

“Sydney saved the day, the NSW government supported it. 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,” Shepherd said.

ALSO READ | Gill, Jadeja hit the nets ahead of Boxing-Day Test

“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,” Shepherd added.

A Queensland government source said that it is holding discussions with CA but hinted that the State will not review its border closure to Greater Sydney until January 8.

“Our priority is keeping Queenslanders safe and keeping transmission out of our community,” the spokesperson said.

“We have been able to relax internal restrictions sooner than other States because we have been cautious with our borders. Sport and recreation and Cricket Australia are currently in discussions with the Queensland government.”