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Fifth test down under -- Cricket Australia want prolonged India series as COVID-19 contingency

THE INDIAN CRICKET TEAM is scheduled to have a long tour of Australia towards the end of 2020, and Cricket Australia are counting on it to rake in some revenue.

Photo Courtesy - BCCI

Two of the main attractions of that tour - a T20 series between India and Australia followed by the T20 World Cup - are now in geopardy due to the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic. Even if the bilateral series can be saved provided the situation improves in both countries, there's no telling if a major event like the T20 World Cup can be held due to the high logistical variance involving travel from a number of countries.

If enough countries pull out due to the coronavirus crisis, the whole tournament may have to be postponed, leaving hosts Cricket Australia with a huge monetary setback.

As a contingency plan, CA are pinning their hopes on the event that's scheduled to follow the T20 World Cup: the bilateral test series with India. Since the series is supposed to start late this year, there's a better chance of it not being cancelled.

At present, India are scheduled to play four test matches with Australia. But just in case the previous tournaments are scrapped, CA want an extra fifth test match to be in place to bring in extra revenue.

The whole matter, of course, is pending BCCI's approval. If it goes through, however, it remains to be seen how much the older and increasingly unfavoured format can play the saviour at a time when the sponsor-favourite T20 has to be put on hold.

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