Updated: May 22, 2020 12:15 pm
Of the three teams scheduled to tour England this summer, Australia have been the least spoken about, possibly because they have been the most reluctant to travel amidst the Corona virus pandemic. But now that the West Indies tour of England is looking like a real possibility, and Pakistan too seem willing — although “not at all costs” — Australia sound the most convinced they have been in a while.
Australia’s initial itinerary in the UK included a T20I against Scotland and three ODIs & three T20Is against England beginning early July. Although those dates won’t be feasible now, Cricket Australia’s chief Kevin Roberts has sounded upbeat about touring sometime in September, after visits by West Indies and Pakistan serve as the “best test” of player safety in the region.
“I think there’s some chance we could send a team over,” Roberts told the News Corp. “Obviously we won’t geopardise the safety of the players, but the best test of that is the West Indian and Pakistan tours of England before we’re due to tour. We hope they go off without a hitch.”
On India’s visit, Roberts wasn’t committal but said there’s a “nine out of ten” chance that the series is happening, with or without the crowds.
“I guess there’s no such thing as certainty in today’s world so I can’t say 10 (out of 10), but I’m going to say nine out of 10,” Roberts said. “With the variable being, who would know whether we can have crowds … I’d be really surprised if we can’t get the Indian tour away. But I wouldn’t, hand on heart suggest we’ll have full crowds from the start. We’ll just have to see how that goes.”
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Wasim Khan has also spoken positively about touring England, even though the ECB themselves don’t seem to have much clarity about the series at the moment. It should all speed up once the West Indies visit and the host board gets a look at how cricket in the post-pandemic era is really going to be like.
“The players trust that we are going to do what is right by them. We are not going to geopardise their health. We all want cricket to be played but not at all costs,” Khan told Sky. “We will have an extended squad. We are looking at bringing about 25 players. We are planning to get them together to train for the tour. We’re probably about a week away from that.
“The ECB have said they are going to come back to us on that once they have gained clarity on what we can do during that time,” added Khan. “We are trying to get to England early July so that we can get the quarantine done. If we can practice during that time then great, if not then it gives us just under three weeks to practice.”