In what should come as heartening news for all cricket fans in Australia, the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground [MCG] could witness a flux of fans during its annual Boxing Day Test this year after the Victorian government announced lockdown relaxations on Monday.
Victoria, Australia’s second-largest city, has grappled with the novel pandemic that is the coronavirus [Covid-19] for months paving way for a lockdown for an extended period. Due to the travel restrictions amidst the Covid threat, there were a lot of speculations that the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground [MCG] might not get to host the annual Boxing Day Test this year, scheduled against India.
India are set to tour Australia for six white-ball internationals and a four-match Test series in late November. And, while Cricket Australia had finalized the quarantine spot and the other venues for the marquee series, there was still an asterisk on the MCG, with the Adelaide Oval locked in as a backup venue.
But with Victoria not reporting a single Covid case on Sunday, the administration has now eased the restrictions, paving way for not only the Test match to take place at the MCG but also opening a window for the spectators to throng in the stadium.
“The Boxing Day Test of course is very different (to the Melbourne Cup) because that is some way off,” Victoria state premier Daniel Andrews was quoted as saying by AFP.
“I am very confident that we will get a crowd at the MCG for the Boxing Day Test. I don’t know how big it will be but there will be a crowd, that’s the advice that I have, that’s what we’re working towards.” he added.
The last time India played a Test match at the MCG, Cheteshwar Pujara scored a defiant hundred while Jasprit Bumrah returned with figures of 6-33 in the first innings to not only flatten the Australians but also notch up what eventually turned out to be a historic series-winning lead.