Australia T20 matches with Sri Lanka moved to avoid COVID-19 pandemic
Australia’s Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka will be played in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne in a bid to minimise movement during the latest COVID-19 outbreak.
Cricket Australia confirmed on Thursday that matches would not be played in Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Adelaide, as previously scheduled.
Under the initial fixture, the SCG was due to host the first game before the Gabba, Metricon Stadium, Adelaide Oval and the MCG followed.
However, the SCG will now host the first two matches on February 11 and 13, before one game is played in Canberra on February 15 and the final two at the MCG on February 18 and 20.
The changes come after New Zealand’s white-ball tour of Australia was postponed on Wednesday, just a week before the Black Caps were due to land.
The short notice of the postponement has left CA without a back-up option, with too little time to organise replacement fixtures with another nation.
Some thought was made that Zimbabwe could play their postponed series in place of New Zealand, however, that is deemed too difficult in the current climate with visa and COVID-19 requirements.
Another option suggested by the likes of Andrew Symonds has been an Australia v Australia A series, in a throwback to the quadrangular tournament both teams featured in during the 1994-95 summer.
That would still appear incredibly unlikely, with players having lived under heavy restrictions for most of the Ashes and BBL amid coronavirus outbreaks.
The more likely option is that Australia pick an extended squad for the Sri Lanka series, in order to give multi-format players some white-ball cricket before heading to Pakistan for a Test series.
Australia’s T20 wicketkeeper Matt Wade said on Thursday he was unsure whether players would prefer the rest or an A-series when the idea was put to him.
“Australia and Australia A would be a bit of fun, I’m not sure how it would go down,” Wade said.
“The gap for those games is not huge, that series against New Zealand was only going to be for a couple of weeks.
“I’m not 100 per cent sure if that would happen, or if the players would like it or not.”
Australia and Australia A’s women’s sides faced off in two warm-up matches before the Ashes this week, with the teams splitting the wins.
The 1994-95 series men’s series is remembered fondly, but did involve some drama when players were taken out of the ‘A’ squad and put into the main team.
“Absolutely. I remember the series,” Wade said.
“It stopped happening potentially because Australia liked an underdog so much, and I think people started supporting Australia A more than they did Australia.
“So you have to be careful what you wish for.”
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