Boxing Day Test between India and Australia could be moved out of MCG
Australia captain Tim Paine is worried about the iconic Boxing Day Test at Melbourne Cricket Ground against India later this year being moved out of Melbourne due to the Coronavirus threat in the city. The four-Test Border-Gavaskar Trophy, scheduled to start December 3 later this year, kicks off at Brisbane, followed by Test matches at Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney.
However, with the city of Melbourne showing a spike in the number of Coronavirus cases recently, chances are that the game might be moved to Perth, where the situation is much better. The Optus Stadium has a capacity of 60,000 and is considered one of the best cricket stadiums in the country after the MCG.
“Certainly, from a player’s point of view, we want to be playing in front of big crowds at the best venues and a big day like Boxing Day is something that everyone looks forward to and a big part of that is playing at the MCG,” Paine said in a video message posted on CA website.
“Fingers crossed things are going well enough that we can do that but, as I said, we are spoilt for choice here in Australia with some world-class stadiums. If something had to change, then, again, we have plenty of options.”
A day after Christmas, December 26 is celebrated in the United Kingdom and many Commonwealth nations, including Australia, New Zealand, and Canada as Boxing Day.
In Australia, the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) hosts the Boxing Day Test match every year from December 26 to 30 between the Australian side and any side which is on that particular tour. The first Boxing Day Test match took place between Australia and England in 1950.
India has played Boxing Day Test matches in Australia in 1985, 1991, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2014, and 2018. With six months to go, things may or may not improve in time. The participation of fans is also a factor for the Boxing Day Test, which usually sees an attendance up to 95000 on Day of the Test.
“Given the current circumstances, I dare say everything is well and truly on the table. We are hopeful that everywhere we play come summertime, we would be able to have crowds,” he said. “How big they are, we don’t know, obviously. But it’s a difficult one for anyone to answer because there is so much changing week to week, day to day.”