SYDNEY: Cricket Australia on Tuesday decided to retain Sydney as the venue for the third Test against India, ending speculation that the game could move to Melbourne because of stringent COVID-19 border restrictions that would have affected the players’ movement for the fourth match in Brisbane.
The third Test is to be held from January 7. The series is currently locked 1-1 after India won the second Test in Melbourne, which was placed on standby in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney’s northern beaches before Christmas.
“Despite the many challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, I am delighted to say Cricket Australia remains on track to deliver the men’s international series as scheduled,” Cricket Australia’s Interim CEO Nick Hockley was quoted as saying by ‘cricket.com.au’.
The fourth and final Test is scheduled from January 15 in Brisbane, Queensland, which has placed strict border restrictions on arrivals from Sydney.
“We have met regularly over the past week to assess the unfolding public health situation in Sydney and gauge its impact on border restrictions around the country,” Hockley said.
“…To that end, we have made the decision to keep the New Year’s Test at the SCG, which has a wonderful recent history of hosting the Pink Test and Jane McGrath Day on the third day of play.”
The outbreak had earlier jeopardised the arrangements for the fourth Test at the Gabba with Queensland closing its border for anyone coming from the Greater Sydney area.
“We are confident that both this match, and the fourth Test in Brisbane, will play out in a safe and successful manner…
“We are very grateful to the Queensland Government for their willingness to work with us to deliver the series as planned in a manner that places the safety and wellbeing of the players, officials, staff and the wider community as its top priority,” Hockley said.
“In response to the public health situation in NSW and the requirements of the Queensland Government, CA will put in place appropriate biosecurity measures and we thank all players, staff and broadcasters for their cooperation to play the matches safely,” he added.
The “Pink Test” has become a tradition at the Sydney Cricket Ground and in its 12th year last summer raised 1.2 million Australian dollars for the McGrath foundation, a charity set up by former pacer Glenn Mcgrath to support breast cancer patients.
“We are thrilled the Vodafone Pink Test will still take place at the SCG. It is the home of the Pink Test and the spirit and support of the crowd at the SCG have become a huge part of the Pink Test atmosphere over the past 12 years,” McGrath said in a statement.
“In the coming days, we will be announcing our new exciting digital initiative for this year’s Pink Test, which will mean people can get involved, no matter whether they are in the stadium or watching from home,” he added.