Australian hopes rise for England tour, India Tests
Cricket Australia CEO says India are a ‘nine out of 10’ chance of touring this summer, and Australia’s tour of the UK remains on the table
AAP & Cricket Network
22 May 2020, 09:26 AM AEST
Australia could still push ahead with this year's limited-overs tour of England after an upbeat message from Cricket Australia chief Kevin Roberts, who is also increasingly optimistic that India will tour down under this summer.
Australia were due to contest three Twenty20s and three ODIs in England from early July - as well as a T20I in Scotland - but the tour has been thrown into doubt in light of the coronavirus pandemic, which has hit the UK hard.
The West Indies are due to embark on a Test tour of England first, pending a UK governmental green light and final agreement on health and safety protocols, with Pakistan slated to follow.
And if assurances over biosecurity and players safety are met, Roberts said he can foresee Justin Langer's men potentially heading to the UK in September.
"I think there's some chance we could send a team over," Roberts told News Corp.
"Obviously we won't jeopardise 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."
Roberts is also optimistic that India will tour Australia as planned this summer, despite the uncertainty created by the health crisis.
“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 when asked about the prospects of India touring.
“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.”
Roberts' counterpart at the Pakistan Cricket Board, Wasim Khan, is equally focused on ensuring his players are safe but also appears ready to plan for the trip to England.
"The players trust that we are going to do what is right by them. We are not going to jeopardise their health. We all want cricket to be played but not at all costs," he 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."
Current guidelines mean any arrivals to the UK from overseas would require a 14-day quarantine period, but there is a chance that could also double as a training period if the venue can be signed off as 'bio-secure'.
"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."