Cricket Australia are set to announce the Boxing Day Test will be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground despite strict coronavirus restrictions in Victoria.
Australia will play India in the upcoming summer Test series, with Cricket Australia hopeful to play the end of year match at it’s traditional home in Melbourne.
Dwindling coronavirus case numbers in Victoria are giving organisers hope of safely hosting players and fans at the MCG, with a socially-distanced crowd of 30,000 possible.
Cricket Australia hope to run the Boxing Day Test at the MCG in 2020 despite strict coronavirus restrictions in Victoria. Pictured: children in the crowd at the 2018 Boxing Day Test at the MCG
Victoria recorded just 41 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, leaving Cricket Australia keen to give Melbourne the opportunity to claim the event.
Victoria’s upcoming summer of sport features iconic events including the Melbourne Cup racing carnival and Australian Open tennis tournament.
The state government is desperate to keep the events in their state to provide a much needed economic boost for the city.
The Test schedule will be announced later this week, with the Adelaide Oval likely to be a back up venue for the MCG if government sanctions don’t allow the event to go ahead.
Australian fast bowler James Pattinson appeals for a wicket during the 2019 Boxing Day Test at the MCG
The Daily Telegraph reported the deadline for Cricket Australia and the Victorian government to decide on the event location would be in November.
The Adelaide Oval will host the first Test, with the prospect of backing up for Boxing Day, before the series moves to Sydney and finishes in Brisbane.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced Victoria’s road map out of coronavirus restrictions on Sunday, which included the extension of Melbourne’s lockdown by two weeks.
He said there would be a possibility for crowds at sporting events once Victoria had moved in a COVID normal state.
‘I can’t predict what’s going to happen in relation to crowds,’ he said.
‘Logic tells you that has to be driven by the amount of virus we’ve got and how successful the defeat of this second wave is and the settling into COVID normal.’
Mr Andrews said the size of the crowds allowed into sporting events would be based on the advice of medical professionals.
Australian captain Tim Paine and Indian captain Virat Kohli chat before the coin toss at the 2018 Boxing Day Test at the MCG