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Update MCG prefered as backup venue by CA for third Test

The MCG has emerged as the preferred backup venue for the third Test of the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy should the fresh outbreak of COVID-19 cluster in New South Wales render playing the New Year's match in Sydney untenable, Cricket Australia on Thursday (December 24).

While CA has reiterated that it remains committed to the original schedule, the board added that, "should the public health situation in NSW render playing in Sydney untenable, CA's preferred contingency plan is to work with the Victorian Government to play the third Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground followed by the fourth one at the Gabba," it added.

Both Australia and India are currently in Melbourne for the second Test of the four-match series, that starts on Boxing Day on December 26. The third and fourth Tests are originally slated for Sydney and Brisbane respectively. However, a fresh outbreak of the COVID-19 virus on Sydney's northern beaches in the past week, and the subsequent border restrictions imposed by the local health authorities, has forced a rethink of plans. Nick Hockley, Cricket Australia's Interim CEO, has said the final call on the venue would be made during the Boxing Day Test.

Should Sydney be able retain the third Test, CA is also working closely with the Queensland government in order to secure the requisite exemptions that would enable players, match officials, broadcasters, media and staff to move from Sydney to Brisbane for the final Test of the series in case NSW still remains under lockdown at that time.

"We have always maintained that scheduling a full summer of cricket during a global pandemic would require agility, problem-solving and teamwork like never before," Hockley said. "We continue to place the safety and wellbeing of everyone involved as our number one priority.

"The record testing numbers and the drop in new community transmissions in NSW have provided cause for optimism, however if the situation in Sydney deteriorates, we have strong contingency plans in place. We are working constructively with the Queensland Government and have been encouraged by the positive nature of discussions with them," he added.


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