T20 cricket set to return to Australia with fans in attendance

Competitive cricket is set to return to Australia as a T20 tournament in Darwin is set to kickstart the sport which has been suspended worldwide since March due to coronavirus pandemic.

According to cricket.com.au, the tournament will feature the seven Darwin Premier Grade clubs, with the eighth team an Invitational XI made up of the best players from the NT’s ‘Asia Cup’ competition played between locals within the Asian community.

The 15 matches of the round-robin styled tournament will be played between June 6-8, with the venues being Marrara Cricket Ground, Gardens Oval and Cazaly’s Oval.

The report also stated that up to 200 fans will be allowed to attend matches as there has been no active COVID-19 positive case in the area since May 21.

The ban on use of saliva on match balls has been a point of contention as according to Darwin Cricket Management chairman Lachlan Baird, they are still waiting for a firm answer from Cricket Australia.

“Cricket Australia is still very strong at the moment that they will not necessarily follow the ICC direction that sweat can be used and any wax applicator will not be banned,” Baird told the NT News.

“They are still exploring that. Fortunately it should not be too much of an issue with our T20 competition this weekend.

“But the week after when 50-over cricket begins we will need a formal decision on what we are going to do either through wax applicators with Kookaburra or hopefully following the ICC and the United Kingdom, who say using sweat and not saliva to shine the ball is an acceptable risk,” it added.

Cricket Australia is slated to host the men’s T20 World Cup from October 18 to November 15. However, because of the outbreak of coronavirus, there are doubts over the tournament.