NEW DELHI, Nov 20: Though the capacity of the stadiums hosting the coming India-Australia cricket matches have been reduced by half, the series is expected to be the first since the outbreak of the Corona pandemic to be played in the presence of spectators, unless some untoward happenings forced the authorities to reverse the decision.
And the good news is the cricket-starved viewers have bought over almost all the tickets available for the three T20 and three ODI matches in the first two days of the starting of the ticket sales on Thursday. “Fewer than 2,000 tickets are still available in one of the six matches which are also likely to be sold by tomorrow,” a spokesman for Cricket Australia said on Friday. The tickets for the first pink ball test between the two teams in Adelaide was also on very high demand, the spokesman said.
India is scheduled to play three T20 and ODI matches each and four tests during the tour of Australia beginning with the first T20 on November 27. The Virat Kohli-led Indian teams to play matches in all the three formats have travelled together and are already in Australia net practicing or playing warm up matches.
Even as international cricket began with West Indies tour of England in July-August, the first since the Corona-infused lockdown in various countries in the world since January, all the matches were played in empty stadium with the spectators watching cricket only on television. India’s mega tournament, the India Premier League that ended in the UAE earlier this month, was also held minus the crowd. All other bilateral cricket was also played in empty stadium so far.
“Tickets for six short-format matches between Australia and India in November and December were all but exhausted on Friday,” Cricket Australia said.
There also was some good news about the opening match in the four-Test series.
Fears that the first of four Tests would have to be moved from Adelaide Oval were heightened when South Australia went into a strict lockdown on Wednesday after a cluster Corona cases were detected in the state.
State officials said on Friday that they had based the decision to go into lockdown on “misleading information” and announced that measures would be eased at midnight on Saturday.
Cricket Australia said it was committed to holding the first Test at Adelaide Oval from December 17 but did take the precaution of moving some international players out of South Australia ahead of the lockdown.
Australia will host the three T20 matches in Sydney and the three one-day internationals in Canberra before the Test series.
The capacities of Sydney Cricket Ground and Manuka Oval have been reduced by 50% because of rules on social distancing although they may yet be loosened if the present situation continued as New South Wales reported no new COVID cases for the last two weeks.
Australia’s large community of people with South Asian heritage has always meant bumper crowds whenever India tour and the rapid sales of tickets would be a boon to the finances of Cricket Australia, which were strained by the global health crisis.
“The rivalry between the Australian and Indian men’s cricket teams is one of the greatest in international sport and this series is shaping up as an epic,” the Cricket Australia spokesman said.