SYDNEY: India captain Virat Kohli and his team-mates would be ready to spend two weeks in quarantine in Australia if that helped the tour go ahead as planned later this year, a top official of the Indian board has said.
A cash-strapped Cricket Australia (CA) is banking heavily on the series, reportedly worth A$300 million ($195 million), to help it cope with an acute financial crisis triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.
Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) treasurer Arun Dhumal offered encouraging words, saying India cricketers would be willing to isolate themselves before playing four Tests and three One-day Internationals in December and January.
“There is no choice — everyone will have to do that [quarantine]. You would want to resume the cricket,” Dhumal told the Sydney Morning Herald. “Two weeks is not that long a lockdown.”
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Revenue from the series is so important to Cricket Australia that it has proposed adding a fifth Test, which would mean ditching a one-off Test against Afghanistan in November.
But Dhumal felt playing extra limited-overs matches would make more financial sense. “If there is a window available it would be up to the boards to decide whether they wanted to go for a Test match or maybe two ODIs or maybe two T20s. Given the revenue loss they will have on account of lockdown, post-lockdown they will want to have revenue and revenue most likely will come from ODIs or T20s much more than a Test match.”
Australia this month dethroned India as the world’s top-ranked Test team, setting up the series as a blockbuster rivalry.
The BCCI has had to indefinitely postponed its own cash-cow Indian Premier League (IPL) and Dhumal said an alternative window for the tournament was yet to be identified. “Once things get clear, then only will we be able to go back to the drawing board and think about re-starting cricket.