Melbourne: Cricket Australia is bracing for the “very high risk” of the men’s T20 World Cup being postponed and the resulting financial hit during the coronavirus pandemic.
Australia is scheduled to host the tournament in October and November but with global travel restrictions in place, it’s very doubtful the event will go ahead. And if it does, it’s unlikely crowds will be allowed in stadiums because of social distancing requirements.
“We have been hopeful all along that it could be staged in October-November but you would have to say there’s a very high risk about the prospect of that happening,” Cricket Australia chief executive Kevin Roberts said on Friday.
Roberts is more confident about a four-Test series against India going ahead, starting at the Gabba in Brisbane on 3 December. But while that would deliver much-needed broadcast revenue, it would also come at a cost of millions for extra “biosecurity measures that we need to put in place to deliver the season."
Cricket Australia released a draft schedule for the southern summer that involves back-to-back T20I series against the West Indies and India in October, a Test match against Afghanistan at Perth from 21-25 November, and four Tests against India in Brisbane (3-7 December), Adelaide (11-15 December), Melbourne (26-30 December) and Sydney (3-7 January).
The Australians regained top spot from India in the last International Cricket Council rankings released before sport was shuttered globally in the pandemic.
India is scheduled to stay for a three-game ODI series on 12, 15 and 17 January before the Australians take on New Zealand in three one-day games and a T20 from 26 January-2 February.
The schedule depends on state borders being open and the provision for visiting foreign teams to fulfill whatever isolation or quarantine requirements are in place at the time.
“It may be that circumstances dictate that when the time comes maybe we can only use one or two venues, we really don’t know any of that yet," Roberts said. “There are endless scenarios and possibilities but we’re very optimistic that we will be able to stage the Indian men’s tour and the other inbound tours for the season.”
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