India’s tour of Australia in 2020/21 will feature the Pink Ball Test in Adelaide from December 17 to 21. It is considered as a marquee Test on line with Melbourne’s Boxing Day Test and the Sydney New Year Test this time. The reasons are many. This will be the first time India will play an overseas Day-Night Test. This will be the only Test that Virat Kohli will feature in as he will miss the remainder of the series to be with his wife Anushka Sharma for the birth of his child. Australia’s media have already given this Test ‘blockbuster’ status. Crowds are expected for the match although at reduced capacity. However, all this build-up could now be potentially derailed.
The main reason – The latest outbreak of the coronavirus in Adelaide. In a quarantine hotel in the Parafield area of Adelaide, two new clusters of coronavirus have suddenly emerged that has taken the tally to 22 in the state. According to ABC news, South Australia Premier Steven Marshall has said that thousands of people might unknowingly be carrying the coronavirus and contact tracing might be a complicated situation.
Parafield area, the main hotspot for the coronavirus in Adelaide, is only 17 kilometers away from the Adelaide Oval Cricket Stadium. In order to tackle the situation, South Australia has imposed a ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown where the entire state and the borders will be sealed for six days in order to contain the coronavirus.
What is the circuit-breaker lockdown?
“Circuit-breaker” lockdown is a term given giving for short-term lockdowns by slowing down the rate of transmission of the virus without having the negative economic consequences of a longer, three-month lockdown, as many experienced earlier this year. The circuit-breaker lockdown could be anytime from a week, two weeks or a maximum of four weeks
Consequences for India Test?
With the Adelaide Pink Ball Test just under a month away, the situation could not have come at a more vulnerable period when Cricket Australia needs as much money possible from the India tour broadcast. If the coronavirus cases are contained by the end of November, then the Test match might go ahead as scheduled. Cricket Australia is monitoring the entire situation very closely.
However, in areas that have been impacted by the coronavirus, the Australian health authorities have been pretty strict in enforcing it. There is no outdoor exertion or activities in Adelaide and that might remain even after the six-day lockdown ends.
Melbourne and Victoria state, adjacent to South Australia, had the toughest lockdown measures imposed as the entire state was sealed was 112 days and they recently opened. However, the players who have been part of the Sheffield Shield Game in Adelaide during the period from October end to November first week between Tasmania and South Australia are all in self-isolation. This includes Australia caps like Tim Paine and Matthew Wade.
Matches have taken place in various ovals in Adelaide but with the six-day lockdown now, it becomes a logistical nightmare as to how the visiting teams that are in Adelaide will go back.
The situation is simple. If the coronavirus does not improve by the end of the month in Adelaide, then Cricket Australia might have to shift the Test. If they have to play with the Pink Ball, then they may have to play two Tests in Brisbane. Brisbane and Sydney have very few cases and this might be the best case scenario in case the Adelaide situation does not improve.