Cricket Australia (CA) is optimistic regarding India's visit for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy despite the travelling restrictions currently in place due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Board CEO Kevin Roberts said chances of India travelling down under in December-January for the marquee series are nine on a scale of ten, even as there remains a great deal of uncertainty over when the pandemic will be over and life returns to normalcy.
"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 News Corp regarding the series which, if it goes ahead, will fill CA's financial coffers by about AUD 300 million from broadcast rights alone.
At a time when the board has had to announce pay cuts for all its staff until the end of June, that is a massive amount.
"With the variable being, who would know whether we can have crowds. I’d be really surprised if we can’t get the Indian tour away," Roberts added.
"But I wouldn’t, hand on heart suggest we’ll have full crowds from the start. We’ll just have to see how that goes."
Australia also has a touring commitment to the UK this summer for white-ball cricket. But first, CA wants to wait and watch how its English counterpart, ECB, goes about hosting West Indies and Pakistan for World Test Championship fixtures, that shall really test the arrangements put in place.
"I think there’s some chance we could send a team over," Roberts said. "Obviously we won’t jeopardise the safety of the players, but the best test of that is that the West Indian and Pakistan tours of England before we’re due to tour. We hope they go off without a hitch."
Apart from hosting India for four Tests and multiple white-ball fixtures, Australia is also due to have Afghanistan over there for a standalone Test, not part of the Test championship. But that one-off game seems highly unlikely at this stage, with CA focussing solely on somehow safeguarding the India series.
(Inputs from PTI)