England hopeful for Aussie tour, Tests not on the agenda
England and Australia still hopeful white-ball campaign will go ahead later this year, despite concerns over Pakistan's tour of the UK
24 June 2020, 03:57 PM AEST
England remain "quietly confident" that Australia will tour the UK to play limited-overs cricket later this year, but Test matches between the two sides are not on the agenda.
The Aussies were scheduled to play three T20s and three ODIs in England between July 3 and 16, but the two countries are instead looking to reschedule the series for September.
Ten Pakistan players this week tested positive to COVID-19, putting a cloud over their proposed tour of England in August and raising the possibility that Australia's campaign could be extended to include more matches and fill the gap if Pakistan aren't able to play.
Cricket Australia and the England and Wales Cricket Board are in constant dialogue about the tour, but it's understood adding Test matches has not been discussed.
England's director of cricket, Ashley Giles, said there is not yet a contingency plan should the Pakistan tour be cancelled, but did concede adding Tests against Ireland to the ODI series scheduled to start in late July isn't out of the question.
"We'd have to look at that," Giles said when asked about the prospect of playing red-ball cricket against the Irish.
"Currently not, but as with this situation throughout, we've had to be agile and adapt very quickly to different situations, all of us. We would look at that if that happened."
Giles is optimistic that Australia's white-ball tour will go ahead, adding he's sympathetic to any reservations the Aussies may have about travelling to England given the UK has been one of the nations hardest hit by the pandemic.
"We had a really good conference call with Australia last week," Giles said. "They've been one of our strongest partners for years and it continues that way. It would be great to have them here.
"Clearly if you were an Australian cricketer or member of staff looking in at the moment, there would be some nervousness. But we are doing everything to allay as many of those fears as we can to get them into the country.
"Again, September is a long way away right now and a lot could change in that time. Are we confident? Yes, quietly confident, but there's a lot of water to pass under the bridge yet."
When asked today how he would feel about playing Tests against England this year, Australia's spinner Nathan Lyon could only smile.
"It just sounds like England want the Ashes back ASAP, " Lyon quipped.
"It's getting up there to the pinnacle series, alongside the Ashes." #AUSvIND is going to be huge! pic.twitter.com/6aA16SBvsA— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) June 24, 2020
"I've got no idea when we're playing next or when potential tours are or anything.
"There's so many balls up in the air ... I'm not qualified to be making any arrangements."
Lyon, dropped from the one-day squad as part of selectors' overhaul after the 2019 World Cup, is keen to be part of the limited-overs trip to England, if it goes ahead.
"I'm still putting my hand up for selection in white-ball cricket," he said.
"All I can do is make sure I'm training well and giving positive feedback to the Australian coaches."
Last week, Australia coach Justin Langer expressed his optimism about the England tour, saying he's planning to have his players ready to play by September.
"If you were to ask me two weeks ago if we were to go to England, I would have said there is no chance," Langer said. "Standing here now, I would think there is a good chance.
"As important as it is for India to come to Australia, the Australian cricket team to go and play cricket in England would be equally as important for English cricket."