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India confirms Australia tour, hopes for shortened quarantine

BCCI president Sourav Ganguly wearing a mask at Belur Math, the headquarters of the Ramkrishna Mission, to help feed those in need in the wake of national lockdown due to COVID 19 . (Photo by Debajyoti Chakraborty/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The Indian cricket team will tour Australia in December as planned, but wants a shortened quarantine for its players on entry to the country.

Sourav Ganguly, president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, told Indian television channel India Today that the tour had been confirmed.

“We just hope the number of quarantine days get reduced a bit,” he added. “Because we don’t want the players to go all that far and sit in hotel rooms for two weeks. It is very, very depressing and disappointing.

“And, as I said Australia and New Zealand have been in good position except Melbourne. So from that point of view we will be going there and hopefully the quarantine days will be less and we can get back to cricket.”

The tour is an important one for Cricket Australia’s finances. Millions of dollars of media-rights revenue is tied to it, via the board’s deal with Indian pay-television broadcaster Sony Pictures Networks. Sony’s deal covers the rights in the Indian subcontinent for all Australia home matches. A multi-million-dollar fee is tied to each of the seven planned matches against India – four tests and three one-day internationals – that is only paid out if they take place. Due to Covid-19, there has been doubt whether the tour will go ahead.

Until an outbreak in Melbourne in recent weeks, Australia had been highly successful at containing Covid-19. Yesterday, the country reported 244 new cases, taking it to 9,797 in total, with 108 deaths. Covid-19 cases are soaring in India, which added 28,637 yesterday to reach 850,000, and there have been nearly 23,000 deaths.

Other cricket teams have faced quarantines as international fixtures have resumed in recent weeks. The West Indies completed a 14-day quarantine in the UK ahead of its tour against England that began on July 8.

Ganguly also said that the BCCI and the Indian Premier League were still looking for a window to run tournament this year. He said this will be affected by the decision this month by the International Cricket Council on whether the T20 World Cup in Australia will go ahead as planned in October and November. The IPL was originally due to have run from March to May this year.