Cricket-India Fine With Playing Entire Australia Series In...

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By Amlan Chakraborty

NEW DELHI, May 15 (Reuters) - India captain Virat Kohli and his team will be open to playing the entire test series against Australia in a 'bio-secure' Adelaide Oval if the situation demands, a top official of the Indian cricket board told Reuters.

India are scheduled to play four tests and three one-day internationals in December and January on a tour reportedly worth A$300 million ($193.77 million) in broadcast revenue for Cricket Australia (CA).

Australia vice captain Travis Head on Thursday backed the idea of playing the entire test series behind closed doors at Adelaide Oval, where an on-site hotel is under construction, to ensure it goes ahead amid restrictions forced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The boys would be very keen to go back to the field," Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) treasurer Arun Dhumal said in an interview.

"If the situation allows only one venue for all the matches, so be it. Maybe when lockdown is lifted, it would be the new normal that everyone has to follow.

"There's talk of matches without spectators.

Nobody would like that, but if it comes to that and there's no other way, one may have to do that."

"It's still six-seven months down the line. We'll take the right call in the best interest of the safety and health of our boys."

BCCI had to postpone this year's Indian Premier League (IPL) due to the pandemic and the world's richest cricket board is staring at a potential $530 million loss if it fails to find another window for the lucrative competition.

Sri Lanka and United Arab Emirates have offered to stage the Twenty20 competition but BCCI is not keen on shifting it.

"The Indian government has put in travel restrictions.

So even if somebody makes an offer, you can't travel there. Where is the question of holding the tournament?" Dhumal said.

The pandemic has also jeopardised the Twenty20 World Cup in Australia, which is set to begin in October.

Dhumal suggested that the BCCI would consider slotting IPL in the October-November window if the global tournament cannot go ahead.

"If IPL has to happen, there has to be a clear-cut window of 30-40 days," he said.

"If T20 World Cup does not happen, and there's a window available, then it would be worked out, subject to restrictions of course."

With the cricket calendar getting increasingly crammed following a series of postponements, getting foreign players for the IPL would be a major headache in any other window, he said.

"We may want our foreign players but there could be some tours happening, some bilateral series going on.

"And their availability is subject to so many conditions - whether foreign boards would allow their players to travel. A few countries may still be in lockdown.

"As of now, everyone is engaged for the T20 World Cup.

If that tournament is not there, then all boards have their players available (for IPL)," Dhumal added.

($1 = 1.5482 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by Toby Davis)