Reports: COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney may force Cricket Australia to host third Test in Melbourne

Reports: COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney may force Cricket Australia to host third Test in Melbourne

To start with, there were talks of swapping the Sydney and Brisbane Tests.

Mitchell Starc
Mitchell Starc. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

The COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney, well and truly, have gotten Cricket Australia (CA) on its toes. The third Test of India’s tour of Australia is scheduled to start on Thursday, January 7 at the Sydney Cricket Ground and the home board is contemplating hosting the match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in the wake of the sudden coronavirus wave.

As per reports, the Indian team, which lands in Melbourne on Tuesday, December 22, has already been informed about the potential change in plan. For the time being, a confirmation is awaited as the visitors gear up for the second Test to be played from December 26 at the iconic MCG.

“The CA feels Melbourne is a safe option under the circumstances because the safety of the players and the staff is paramount. They are in regular touch with the BCCI and the venue should be finalised soon,” a board official was quoted as saying in The New Indian Express.

Sydney deemed unsafe after coronavirus wave

Earlier, following the COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney, New South Wales imposed a few restriction movements. Bearing in mind the same, CA had to airlift fast bowler Sean Abbott and batsman David Warner from Sydney last Saturday.

The duo wasn’t a part of the opening Day-Night Test at the Adelaide Oval due to injuries and will join the Aussie members in Melbourne going into the second match of the series.

Going by sources in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), CA believes that Sydney won’t be a safe option to go ahead for the New Year’s Test. To start with, there were talks of swapping the Sydney and Brisbane Tests. However, it’s not assured that the situation will improve by then.

Even if the match takes place at the SCG, there could be a possibility of it being played behind closed doors in front of empty stands. India won’t mind playing two Tests at the MCG as the pitch has been on the slower side in recent times.

Back in 2018, India won the Melbourne Test by 137 runs. For the time being, after their eight-wicket loss in Adelaide, the visitors are trailing the four-match series by 0-1.