Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 2 June 2020

'Nine out of 10' chance that Australia v India series will go ahead Down Under

CA chief executive Roberts is still hoping to push ahead with this year's limited-overs tour of England

Jasprit Bumrah, left, Virat Kohli and the India squad were due to play four Test matches and three one-day internationals Down Under. AP 
Jasprit Bumrah, left, Virat Kohli and the India squad were due to play four Test matches and three one-day internationals Down Under. AP 

Australia are a "nine out of 10" chance to host India for a Test series this summer, according to Cricket Australia chief executive Kevin Roberts.

And Roberts also said Australia could still push ahead with this year's limited-overs tour of England.

Cricket has been shut down since March due to the coronavirus outbreak and while travel curbs remain in place, Australia has begun easing social distancing restrictions after infections slowed to a trickle.

The Australia-India series had been due to start in November, with four Test matches and three one-day-internationals seceduled.

"I guess there’s no such thing as certainty in today’s world so I can’t say 10 [out of 10], but I’m going to say nine out of 10,” Roberts told a roundtable held by Australia's News Corp when asked about the prospects of India touring.

"I’d be really surprised if we can’t get the Indian tour away. But I wouldn’t, hand on heart, suggest we’ll have full crowds from the start.

"We’ll just have to wait and see how that goes."

Australia were due to contest three Twenty20s and three ODIs in England from early July – as well as a T20I in Scotland

England are also hoping to host the West Indies and Pakistan in July and August.

Roberts said he had spoken to the England and Wales Cricket Board on Wednesday and there was "some chance" Australia could tour England after the West Indies and Pakistan tours.

"Obviously we won’t jeopardise the safety of the players, but the best test of that is that the West Indian and Pakistan tours ... go off without a hitch," he said.

Roberts' counterpart at the Pakistan Cricket Board, Wasim Khan, is equally focused on ensuring his players are safe but also appears ready to plan for the trip to England.

"The players trust that we are going to do what is right by them. We are not going to jeopardise their health. We all want cricket to be played but not at all costs," he told Sky.

"We will have an extended squad. We are looking at bringing about 25 players. We are planning to get them together to train for the tour. We're probably about a week away from that."

Current guidelines mean any arrivals to the UK from overseas would require a 14-day quarantine period, but there is a chance that could also double as a training period if the venue can be signed off as 'bio-secure'.

"The ECB have said they are going to come back to us on that once they have gained clarity on what we can do during that time," said Khan.

"We are trying to get to England early July so that we can get the quarantine done. If we can practice during that time then great, if not then it gives us just under three weeks to practice."

Roberts, though, was less optimistic about Australia's chances of hosting the Twenty20 World Cup, scheduled to start in October, given the logistical challenge of bringing in 15 teams.

"We don’t have clarity on that one, yet. But as the situation continues to improve, you never know what might be possible," he said. "It's ultimately a decision for the ICC [International Cricket Council]."

Updated: May 22, 2020 08:37 AM

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