Melbourne [Australia], Aug 8 (ANI): Cricket Australia interim Chief Executive Officer Nick Hockley on Saturday said they "will be doing everything" to play this year's Boxing Day Test between Australia and India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and are currently "full steam ahead" with the plan.
The much-anticipated Test series between India and Australia will commence in December, with the second Test between the two being a day-night Test and it will take place in Adelaide, starting from December 11.
The first Test will commence on December 3 while the third and fourth Test will begin on December 26 and January 3, respectively.
"In terms of Boxing Day, it is one of the most iconic events on the Australian sporting calendar. Certainly at this stage, we are planning full steam ahead. As long as circumstances allow, we will be doing everything we can to play the Test at the MCG," ESPNCricinfo quoted Hockley as saying.
Melbourne is in a Stage 4 lockdown following the second wave of COVID-19 cases with tight restrictions set to be in place until mid-September at the earliest. Unlike some other major cities around Australia, Melbourne has not been able to host any crowds at sports events since the original pandemic restrictions took hold in March.
Currently, Perth Stadium, which missed out on getting an India Test in the original schedule, is able to hold 25,000 spectators for AFL matches while smaller crowds of up to 10,000 are permitted in Brisbane, Sydney and Adelaide although there is a close watch being maintained on the Covid-19 situation in New South Wales, ESPNCricinfo reported.
Hockley said they will stick to MCG for Boxing Day Test if they are able to get the crowd but he remained optimistic as there are more than four months for the game.
"It comes down to if we can get a crowd at the MCG, we will play at the MCG. There is a long way to run, over four and a half months. I think it's very premature to be talking about this. All the restrictions that are ongoing - we are just hopeful that they take very quick effect and we get back on top of the situation and people can get out and about, we can get back to crowds and get back to live events," he said.
"We are having to remain agile, certainly we are looking at contingency planning across the entire summer. As things change, we are doing everything we can and we have all the back-up arrangements to make sure we get cricket played. We are a number of months off having to make any change to the published schedule in respect to Boxing Day," the interim CEO added. (ANI)