SYDNEY: India’s cricket team is prepared to undergo quarantine to salvage a Test series against Australia but there was less optimism about this year’s Twenty20 World Cup taking place.
Virat Kohli-led team is scheduled to contest a four-Test series in Australia towards the end of the year but will need to isolate for two weeks under current COVID-19 rules.
Board of Control for Cricket in India treasurer Arun Dhumal said the Test team were willing to make that sacrifice to save the series, which cash-strapped Cricket Australia desperately needs to replenish its coffers.
“There is no choice -– everyone will have to do that (quarantine). You would want to resume the cricket,” Dhumal told local newspapers. “Two weeks is not that long a lockdown.”
Australia dethroned India as the world’s top-ranked Test team, setting up the series as a blockbuster rivalry. The series would also generate hundreds of millions of dollars for a host organisation struggling during the coronavirus shutdown.
The revenue from the series is important to Cricket Australia and it has proposed adding a fifth Test, which would mean ditching a one-off Test against Afghanistan in November.
Dhumal said it was “too early” to make a call on extending the Test series, suggesting Indian broadcasters would prefer more limited-overs matches instead as they generate more money. “They will want to have revenue and revenue most likely will come from ODIs or T20s much more than a Test match,” he said.
Dhumal was less optimistic about the preceding Twenty20 World Cup and did not ex a flagship tournament in Australia featuring players who are still rusty as they emerge from the lockdown.
He also questioned whether elite players would be ready for the October tournament. “They will have been out of cricket for a long time. Would you want to be without training for that long and straight away go and play the World Cup?” he asked. “That is a call every board has to take. It seems to be difficult.”
The BCCI has had to indefinitely postponed its own cash-cow Indian Premier League (IPL) and Dhumal said an alternative window for the tournament was yet to be identified. “Once things get clear, then only will we be able to go back to the drawing board and think about re-starting cricket.”