India tour of Australia 2020-21
Indian cricket team has gone to Australia, will be taking part in four Test matches, Three One-day international matches, and three Twenty20 international matches. The tour began in November and will be ending in January next year. The Indian team's current tour to Australia has been the 14th trip by the Indian cricket team to Australia. The International Cricket Council (ICC) has decided Australia vs India 2020-21 tour as a part of the opening ICC World Test Championship, scheduled to be held from 2019 to 2021. The One-Day International series (ODI) has also been decided to be a part of the ICC World Cup Super League by the world cricket's governing body.
However, in the ongoing series three ODI matches have already played where India conceded a 1-2 defeat. Australia won the first and second ODIs by 66 and 55 runs, respectively while India won the third ODI by 13 runs.
• Overcoming COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic had shattered the whole world, derailing the schedule of all the sports events which were supposed to take place in the first phase of 2020. Similarly, the international cricket schedule was also damaged a lot. Amidst the situation, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Australian cricket board (Cricket Australia) Kevin Roberts made an initiative to find out a solution. That was around in April 2020. In a bid to get rid of the stalemate situation Cricket Australia set a schedule where India will be participating in five Test matches as a replacement for four scheduled Test matches and the important plan was to stage all these five Test matches at Adelaide Oval in a closed-door stadium. At the same time, the government in Australia was trying to come out of the stalemate and was making appeals for international travel exemptions so that India-Australia 2020-21 tour can be successful finally. The hindrances of COVID-19 could be exceeded finally.
• The BCCI nod
In the following month in May, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) also expressed its willingness and authenticated by announcing that it had decided to keep players into quarantine for fifteen days to ensure the India-Australia 2020 tour happen. Simultaneously, Cricket Australia also said that there is a clear chance of the Australia - India 2020 tour turning up as Kevin Roberts mentioned it 'nine out of ten' while talking about the chances of the India-Australia 2020 tour. The Test match fixture was set to be held in December 2020 as the first Test match was scheduled to be staged at Brisbane. Cricket Australia decided about the ODI series to begin in January 2021 and it also stated that the number of Test match centers could be restricted to one or two grounds if traveling within the country is constrained following COVID-19.
• Complication continues
Cricket Australia had originally planned to commence the Australia vs India 2020 tour with Twenty20 international matches in October before the men's ICC Twenty20 World Cup. But ICC, in July, had decided to postpone the Twenty20 World Cup to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and as its reflection T20 matches' schedule in the India-Australia 2020 tour was deferred following their clash with the revised schedule of Indian Premier League 2020. Cricket Australia however did not give up, promising that the second boxing-day Test match in the India-Australia 2020 tour would stand as it was scheduled despite a lockdown in Melbourne. The Australian cricket control board was trying to modify the fixture of the India-Australia 2020 tour as well as the One-day International matches, to be organized before the Test series begins.
• The final phase
BCCI president, Sourav Ganguly gave the final signal stating on 20th August 2020 that the Indian senior cricket team would go to Australia to make the India-Australia 2020 tour happen to fulfill their Future Tours Program (FTP) promise. Cricket Australia, at the same time, was exploring more probability for the India-Australia 2020 tour as it was also ready to change the venues if required and during this time Cricket Australia was making a desperate effort to replace Test match from Brisbane and at the same time, it made a firm decision that no Test match in the Australia - India 2020 tour would be played at Perth. The reason should be mentioned as Sydney Swans player Elijah Taylor had violated, coming out of quarantine during the AFL 2020.
But finally, in October 2020 Cricket Australia issued an updated fixture where the board slotted Brisbane for the One-day International matches and Adelaide for the Twenty20 international matches in the Australia vs India 2020 tour. Cricket Australia even approved Sydney and Manuka Oval in Canberra as the back-up to stage One-day International matches in this India-Australia 2020 tour. The situation began to improve as Australia getting liberated from COVID-19 restrictions gradually. As its aftermath Cricket Australia again planned to bring cricket lovers back onto the stadiums although capacities at each playing stadium were decided by Cricket Australia throughout the India-Australia 2020 tour.
• Doubts on Adelaide
Despite Cricket Australia's promise, the staging of the opening Test match between India and Australia in this India-Australia 2020 tour seems doubtful. The Test match is scheduled to be held from 17th December. If the venue is to be taken away from Adelaide then Melbourne Cricket Club (MCG) is likely to be an alternative center. MCG is already going to host the second Test match from Boxing Day. (Source: Sydney Morning Herald)
• Rohit out, Rohit in
Rohit Sharma and Ishant Sharma, both the senior players were ruled out of the India-Australia 2020 series following their injuries in the Indian Premier League 2020. But after Indian skipper Virat Kohli was given paternity leave permission and return to India after the first Test match Rohit Sharma was included in India's Test squad for this ongoing India-Australia 2020 tour but later on, the BCCI revealed that both Rohit and Ishant Sharma would not be available for the first two Test matches in India-Australia 2020 tour.
• More changes in the squad
T. Natarajan got a berth in India's Twenty20 squad substituting Varun Chakravarty who was already dismissed following injury. Sanju Samson's name came into the squad as an additional wicket-keeper. Indian team received the last blow when Ravindra Jadeja was cancelled following a concussion in the opening T20 match and has been out of the T20 series.
On the other hand, Australia also has to undergo a few changes in their squad following the unavailability of star batsman David Warner. Warner had suffered from a groin injury during the second ODI match and is out of the remaining matches in this India-Australia 2020 series Kane Williamson has also pulled out of the series as he has expressed to live in the home for his new born son.