The third Test match between India and Australia, starting on January 7 at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), has come under threat after 10 cases of Covid-19 emerged on December 31 in Sydney’s vicinity, taking the total number of positive cases to 170 over the last two weeks.
According to a report in Channel 9, there have been calls to play the third Test at the SCG without spectators inside the stadium.
“The Blue Mountain and Illawarra, a broad area is being affected by these outbreaks,” said a report on Nine News Sydney.
The areas of Berala and Smithfield, which are just 30-odd kilometres from the SCG have been put on alert.
“There have been calls to make [wearing] masks mandatory and, of course, not to have crowds which is due to kick off from seventh [of January]. Whether that happens, remains to be seen. We are expecting to hear from the New South Wales premier later in the day. But the numbers are really significant, we had 10 cases diagnosed for the lat day of 2020,” the report added.
“Over the last two weeks, cases have risen from zero to 170 cases and that is significant. We are talking of a wide area, city blue mountain and Illawarra.”
Cricket Australia had this week confirmed that the third Test will go ahead in Sydney.
It is yet to clarify on the number of spectators to be allowed at the venue.
It also cut down on the travelling broadcasting staff, reducing it to as much as one-fourth for the last two Tests and ensuring that only players, support staff and match officials travel.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that he would have loved to be at the Sydney Test but for travel travel restrictions that won’t allow it to happen.
“If I was in Sydney, I would love to go there and sing the national anthem in its new form,” he was quoted as saying by AAP.
Morrison exchanged text messages with Australia skipper Tim Paine and coach Justin Langer on Friday, as the ongoing pandemic ensured there was no Kirribilli meet and greet with the Test squad. The Kirribilli meet is an annual affair with the two Test teams visiting Kirribilli House, the official residence of the Australian Prime Minister in Sydney.
Although the current restrictions will allow fans at the SCG, the New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has said that the “pandemic is an evolving situation and every day things can change”.