India, Aus players to stay in Melbourne for another week

The Indian and Australian teams will stay in Melbourne for a few more days and proceed to Sydney only a few days before the third Test match that will begin at the Sydney Cricket Ground on January 7, Cricket Australia’s Interim CEO Nick Hockley said.

On Tuesday, Cricket Australia had announced that the third Test will be played in Sydney as scheduled after days of speculation that it could be moved to Melbourne following a rise in Covid-19 cases in the state of New South Wales (NSW), where the city is located.

The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) curator had, meanwhile, begun preparing a pitch next to the one where the second Test was played as standby.

“Last night’s announcement was that we are proceeding to Sydney and we are putting our plans in place to do that safely. The players will be in Melbourne for a few more days training there, before moving to Sydney a couple of days ahead of the Test match,” Hockley said while speaking to reporters on Wednesday during a virtual interaction.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Wednesday said that the state government could allow about 50 per cent crowd for the third Test which means that there could be 24,000 spectators.

“I think the NSW Premier’s comment are a baseline. We will continue to work over the coming days with the NSW government and the SCG. Ultimately, we will take the government advice, how many we can have safely.

“We want as many people as possible to experience the New Year’s Test. To do that safely is the target. Fifty per cent public is a baseline. We will work in the coming days if we can get more but safety is the priority,” Hockley added.