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Australia closing in on T20 and ODI tour in England

One Day International series between Australia and New Zealand on March 13, 2020 (Photo by Jason McCawley - CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

Revised Covid-19 restrictions from the UK government could open the door for Australia’s Twenty20 and One-Day International tour to England.

The teams are due to play three T20 matches and three ODIs in a series initially planned for July but postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ODI tour is now set to go ahead in September, with the Australian squad expected to make the trip on a private charter plane, the Brisbane Times reports.

Crucially, the Australian squad will not have to quarantine for 14 days before the games as the UK government does not impose that restriction on Australians.

All matches will be played without crowds at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton and Old Trafford in Manchester. Both venues have hotels on site with enough capacity to accommodate the teams and match officials.

Last week Cricket Australia named a preliminary 26-player list for the proposed Qantas Tour of England, with a final squad to be announced when the tour is confirmed.

National Selector Trevor Hohns said: “This preliminary list covers the contingencies of playing One-Day Internationals and T20 Internationals in bio-secure hubs with the likely prospect of not being able to bring in replacements should the tour proceed.”

It has been a turbulent year for CA, with the ICC confirming yesterday that it was postponing cricket’s men’s T20 World Cup in Australia by 12 months. Australia had been due to stage the event between October 18 and November 15 this year.

Last month CA announced further job losses, a pause of international tours and executive pay cuts as it works to streamline its finances, which have been damaged by Covid-19.

A day after Nick Hockley was appointed as an interim replacement for the outgoing chief executive Kevin Roberts, the CA board outlined details of A$40m ($27.9m/€24.4m) of cost cuts over the next financial year.

Chairman Earl Eddings said cricket had not been immune from the impact of Covid-19 and this had required difficult decisions by CA at the height of the crisis.

Last week SportBusiness revealed that the England and Wales Cricket Board had installed a network of Bluetooth sensors at the two venues for the three test matches between the England cricket team and the West Indies.

The technology is being used to maintain social distancing on site and prevent too many people from congregating in one area. It also enables the ECB to track and trace any outbreak of the virus at the matches.

The developers of the technology suggested it could be scaled up to isolate outbreaks in much larger gatherings of people.

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