India are set to undertake a full tour of Australia later this year, according to the international schedule for the 2020-21 summer released by Cricket Australia (CA) on Thursday.
The first Test begins in Brisbane on December 3, followed by a Day-Night Test in Adelaide (December 11), the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne (December 26) and the New Year’s Test in Sydney (January 3). India retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy after beating Australia 2-1 away in 2018-19. India will also play a three-match ODI series after that.
Also included in the schedule is a three-match T20I series in October. That hinges on whether the WorldT20 will happen in Australia as scheduled from October 18. The India women’s team too will play a three-match ODI series towards the end of January. It has been learned the fixtures were announced with the consent of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) though there has been no official confirmation from the Indian board till the time of going to press.
India’s tour is expected to boost CA’s finances. In April, CA put majority of its staff on reduced pay for the remainder of the financial year.
“We are working closely with the BCCI to deliver the eagerly anticipated men’s and women’s tours, and we are looking forward to staging the important series against both the men’s and women’s New Zealand sides,” CA CEO Kevin Roberts was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
“We know that circumstances or events beyond our control could mean that the final schedule potentially may look different to the one released today, but we’ll be doing everything we can to get as much international cricket in as possible this summer. We will communicate any changes to the schedule if or when they are required.”
The schedule puts to rest weeks of speculation on how tourists would play cricket in Australia which has had just over 7000 COVID-19 cases and 103 deaths. Several theories were floated, including playing at one hub to ensure a bio-secure environment but the scheduling suggests that it wasn’t endorsed.
With Steve Smith and David Warner back in the side after serving international bans for the ball-tampering scandal in 2018, Australia are primed to test India in home conditions. Australia’s record at Brisbane’s Gabba, which hosts the series-opener, boasts the longest active unbeaten streak in Test cricket (31 matches) since 1988. Perth, the only venue Australia beat India in the last tour, was not awarded an India Test this time. Instead, they will host the summer’s first Test, against Afghanistan from November 21.
CA’s release doesn’t mention if the visiting teams would be quarantined on landing in Australia. Neither does it specify if the matches will be played behind closed doors, like Australia’s ODI against New Zealand in Sydney in March.
“We will continue to assess whether it is possible for them to attend matches in person, however if it is not deemed possible, we already have a solid blueprint in place,” said Roberts.