India tour of Australia might well start with the limited-overs leg [3 T20Is + 3 ODIs], followed by the all-important four-match Border Gavaskar Trophy, according to a report published in ESPNCricinfo.
According to ESPNCricinfo, both Cricket Australia and BCCI are mulling over the option but nothing has been decided as of now.
According to the tentative schedule released by CA back in May, Indian tour of Australia would have started as early as in October with the three-match T20I series serving as a prelude to the ICC T20 World Cup, which has now been postponed till 2022. One advantage in playing the white-internationals before the Test leg is that no games will be lost from the original schedule.
The four-match Test series which is originally scheduled to start at the Gabba in Brisbane from December 03, followed by Test match in Adelaide [December 12] and the traditional Boxing Day and New Year Test in Melbourne and Sydney respectively could also change considering Melbourne is currently under Level-4 lockdown and matches are likely to be played at reduced venues in order to minimize unnecessary movements and travel.
Will India play limited-overs internationals before the Test series during their tour of Australia?
Another key challenge is the lack of time. The IPL set to be completed on November 10 and even if India land in Australia on the 12th, they will not be able to kickstart their practice before November 26, even though we have seen during the ongoing English summer that players have been able to practice while being in quarantine.
But that is also due to the ECB-assigned venues having on-site recommendations. Also, Australia is set to host Afghanistan for a one-off Test, which according to ESPNCricinfo, could start from November 24. That means that it will leave only four days before the first Test against India.
Another thing that makes playing limited-overs leg before the Tests a viable option is that with Indian players coming straight off the IPL, they wouldn’t require extra practice to get into the groove. If the T20I and ODI series get wrapped up by December 10, it will leave India an option of playing an intra-squad game before the first Test, which could possibly start from December 18.
Both boards have acknowledged that the schedule must remain a ‘set of moving parts’ in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. CA’s head of national teams admitted that finalizing the itinerary remains a challenge but he is optimistic about Australia fulfilling the international summer.
“We are really excited about the home Test summer, both the first Test against Afghanistan and the four scheduled against India. We are doing everything we can to get those matches played, to be honest, it’s not without its challenges, there is some complexity in the schedule and our ability to move around the country but we have great support and commitment from our various partners including Afghanistan and India,” Oliver was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.
“We are working through that now and everyone is committed to getting as much cricket played as possible. In the same way as this tour of England it’s with health and safety at the forefront of our thinking and the non-negotiable of our commitment to public health. We remain optimistic about delivering the full Test summer.” he added.