If normalcy returns anytime soon and cricketing action around the world gets underway then – Cricket Australia is mulling the prospect of turning its four-match Test series against India later this year into a five-match rubber. The Australia cricket board is going back to the drawing board and looking for ways to compensate for the financial losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. India’s tour of Australia will begin with a T20 tri-series in October and is scheduled to end with a four-match Test series in December. Also Read - Cricket: Rahul Dravid Predicts 3-2 Scoreline in Team India's 'Best Chance' to Win in England
Terming their relationship with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) as ‘strong’, Roberts said a five-Test series is a possibility but not a certainty at this stage. “There’s no certainty about that (five-Test series) for the coming season, but what I can say is that the relationship between the BCCI and Cricket Australia is really strong,” Roberts told reporters on a video call. Also Read - Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma-Less Team India Will Tour Sri Lanka in July For 3 ODIs And 5 T20Is, Confirms Sourav Ganguly
“We’ve discussed a shared desire to evolve to five-Test series between Australia and India in the future. Also Read - Cricket: David Warner And Michael Slater Deny Reports of 'Physical Exchange' in Maldives Bar
“It’s something we’ve both committed to in principle in the future, the big question is whether or not we can bring that in before the next future tours cycle in 2023.
“We don’t know what prospect there is of that next season, but certainly with a changing landscape…we won’t rule out a possibility of that until we get closer to the time,” he added.
In between the India-Australia series, there is the ICC T20 World Cup, scheduled for an October 18 start, but the mega event’s future is also shrouded in uncertainty due to the global health crisis.
“If you contemplate the prospect of the international season, in particular, being affected, we have an issue of hundreds of millions of dollars on our hands,” Robers told the Australian Associated Press on Tuesday.
“So it’s very important that … we do everything possible to stage the season. Whether or not there’s people at the venue or not … we will explore all viable options.” he added.
Adding a fifth Test match in the series, which could be played in one city at a stadium without spectators, is one of the options discussed by the financially struggling CA.
“Fortunately we have a little bit of time to work through the different scenarios with the India series. But we’re not ruling out any possibility for that at this point in time,” Roberts said.
CA is also discussing hosting the T20 World Cup without any fans. “We might not generate financial returns from that event that are as significant as the international cricket season (in Australia),” Roberts said.
“But what we do know is that the bigger returns from the broadcast rights around the event that are generated by the ICC are very important to all of our counterparts around the cricket world.”
“So it’s incumbent on us to do everything possible to stage and host the T20 World Cup.”
With the coronavirus outbreak halting all cricketing action, CA has laid off 80 per cent of its staff for the rest of the financial year which ends on June 30. Reports suggest the board will run out of cash by August.
(With Agency Inputs)