MCG Offers to Host 1st India-Australia Test Amid COVID-19 Spike

The Melbourne Cricket Ground is currently scheduled to host the Boxing Day second Test from 26 December.

Updated
Cricket
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Melbourne Cricket Ground. 
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The iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground’s (MCG) chief Stuart Fox has offered to host the first Test between India and Australia if Adelaide Oval fails to do so due to the coronavirus outbreak in South Australia, the state where the match venue is located. The first Test match begins on 17 December after the ODI and T20I series’ are completed. The MCG is currently scheduled to host the Boxing Day Test from 26 December.

"If the game had to be moved, the MCC would be ready to mobilise and the MCG would be available," Fox told The Age and Sydney Morning Herald.

Sydney Cricket Ground had also offered to help, however, the SCG chairman Tony Shepherd said he expects the situation to ease out in the coming weeks.

South Australian Premier Steven Marshall said he is hopeful the first Test will take place at the Adelaide Oval, but he did not guarantee it.

"We are still hopeful that the cricket will go ahead. What we are doing in South Australia is putting all those people we think pose the biggest risk, those people that have come into contact with someone who is infectious, we have put them into quarantine as quickly as possible," Marshall was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald on Tuesday.

Earlier on Tuesday, as an emergent measure, several members of the Australian Test squad were air-lifted from South Australia to New South Wales.

The players, airlifted by Cricket Australia (CA) in a chartered flight, include Test players Tim Paine, who is the captain, Marnus Labuschagne, Matthew Wade and Travis Head, besides those part of Australia 'A' team and those who will compete in the T20 Big Bash League (BBL) starting next month.

South Australia had on Sunday announced a new COVID-19 cluster, as the number of cases quickly grew to 17 on Monday. The numbers, however, fell on Tuesday.

On the previous tour of Australia, India won at the MCG in the Boxing Day Test when debutant Mayank Agarwal and Cheteshwar Pujara scored big runs before Jasprit Bumrah and co powered them to a 137-run win. India took a 2-1 lead in the four-match series in Melbourne on the tour.

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