Dubai: Cricket Australia, which had been bleeding alongwith the other boards due to the coronavirus crisis, is pushing ahead with it’s plans to stage the T20 World Cup on schedule alongwith staging a five-Test series against India in the 2020-21 calendar to make up for lost time and revenue.
‘‘If you contemplate the prospect of the international season in particular being affected, we have an issue of (losing revenue of) hundreds of millions of dollars on our hands,’’ said chief executive Kevin Roberts. ‘‘We’ll be doing everything possible to launch and stage a season in 2020-21.’’
The International Cricket Council (ICC), meanwhile, will be meeting with through a conference call on Thursday to take stock of the situation and assess the possibilities of resumption of international cricket - with the World T20 (scheduled between October 18 and November 15) topping the agenda.
ICC chief executive Manu Sawhney said the meeting would be the ‘‘first step’’ in a collective process. “We need to share knowledge and start to build a deep understanding of what it will take to resume international cricket,” he said.
“Countries will start to reopen at different stages and in different ways and we will need to respect that and have a holistic view of this to enable us to take well-informed decisions that mitigate the various risks as much as possible.”
Countries will start to reopen at different stages and in different ways and we will need to respect that and have a holistic view of this to enable us to take well-informed decisions that mitigate the various risks as much as possible
Australia and India have regularly met in four-Test series but administrators in both countries want to expand on the growing rivalry. Australia’s oldest and fiercest rivalry is the Ashes series against England, which is played over five Tests.
Roberts said the relationship between Australian officials and the Board of Control for Cricket in India is strong, and both sides are committed to stages five-test series in the future.
‘‘We won’t rule anything out in terms of the Indian series. Along with the BCCI and Indian players, we want to stage a series that inspires the cricket world, whether or not there are people in the stands,” he told agencies. ‘‘We need to face into all possibilities. Fortunately, we have a little bit of time to work out scenarios,”
Cricket is in the off-season in Australia, but the game’s governing body has already stood down most staff and slashed salaries in case the situation deteriorates.
All sports leagues are on hold in Australia at the moment and strict border and travel restrictions have been imposed amid the pandemic, including bans on international visitors.
The National Rugby League staged two rounds in empty stadiums last month before the competition was postponed. The NRL is planning to relaunch the season in late May in a heavily modified competition, although there are strong critics of the push. The Australian rules Australian Football League played one round before the suspension, and is hoping to restart in June.
The women’s T20 World Cup final, which Australia won by 85 runs over India in front of more than 86,000 people at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 8, was the last major sports event staged Down Under before the strict social distancing rules were imposed.