India to accept quarantine to save Aussie Test series


India’s cricket team is prepared to undergo quarantine to salvage a money-spinning Test series against Australia, a top official said Friday, but there was less optimism about this year’s Twenty20 World Cup taking place Down Under.

Virat Kohli’s men are scheduled to contest a four Test series in Australia towards the end of the year but will need to isolate for two weeks under current COVID-19 rules.

Board of Control for Cricket in India treasurer Arun Dhumal said the Test team were willing to make that sacrifice to save the series, which cash-strapped Cricket Australia desperately needs to replenish its coffers.

“There is no choice -– everyone will have to do that (quarantine). You would want to resume the cricket,” Dhumal told Fairfax newspapers. “Two weeks is not that long a lockdown.”

Australia this month dethroned India as the world’s top-ranked Test team, setting up the series as a blockbuster rivalry.

The series would also generate hundreds of millions of dollars for a host organization struggling during the coronavirus shutdown.

Revenue from the series is so important to Cricket Australia that it has proposed adding a fifth Test, which would mean ditching a one-off Test against Afghanistan in November.

Dhumal said it was “too early” to make a call on extending the Test series, suggesting Indian broadcasters would prefer more limited-overs matches instead because they generate more money.

“They will want to have revenue and revenue most likely will come from ODIs or T20s much more than a Test match,” he said.

While it would be relatively straightforward for Australia’s government to allow the Indian team to enter the country for a bilateral series, Dhumal said staging the 16-nation T20 World Cup was another matter.

He also questioned whether elite players would be ready for the October tournament.

“They will have been out of cricket for a long time. Would you want to be without training for that long and straight away go and play [the] World Cup?” he asked. “That is a call every board has to take. It seems to be difficult,” he added.