Australia Mulls 3rd, 4th Test Swap after COVID-19 Spike

Cricket Australia is considering swapping the third and fourth Tests of Australia's cricket Test series against India due to a COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney where the third Test is scheduled to be played.

Australian media on Sunday reported CA officials have a contingency plan to switch the Sydney Test and the fourth Test in Brisbane if the outbreak worsens.

Officials currently are confident the Sydney Test can go ahead as planned from January 7.

If the Tests are swapped, the Sydney Test will be played from January 15 to 19.

A total of 30 new COVID infections were reported in Sydney on Sunday all associated with an outbreak in the city's northern beach suburbs. The new cases caused the New South Wales state government to impose fresh restrictions on public and private gatherings.

CA's coronavirus working group was due to meet Sunday to discuss the Sydney outbreak and its impact on the Test series.

CA interim chief executive Nick Hockley said, ''We have made no changes to our schedule and our preference remains to play the match at the Sydney Cricket Ground.''

''CA has prepared for the possibility of COVID-19 hotspots and state border closures over the course of the summer.''

The plan to swap the third and fourth Tests is being considered in case Queensland state closes its border with New South Wales. That would mean players and television crews could not travel from Sydney to Brisbane between the third and fourth Tests.

Victoria state on Sunday declared Sydney a hot spot and said it would close its borders from midnight to travelers from Australia’s largest city.

Australian Test opener David Warner beat the closure, flying by private plane on Saturday from Sydney to Melbourne to isolate before joining the Australian team bubble ahead of the Boxing Day Test. Warner is recovering from a groin injury sustained late last month during the one-day international series against India.

An alternative plan, to play consecutive Tests in Melbourne which will host the second Test from Dec. 26, exists but is thought unlikely because CA does not want to cancel the Sydney Test. The Sydney Test also could be moved to Manuka Oval in Canberra.

Australia fast bowler Pat Cummins said the Australian players are aware of the issues involving the Sydney outbreak and are confident Cricket Australia has matters under control.

''Of course, we have been chatting about that. Fingers crossed it doesn't escalate too much,'' Cummins said. ''But Cricket Australia have been amazing with our medical staff.''

''They have thought of every contingency and been red-hot on our discipline with mask-wearing and isolation before coming into the bubble. Fingers-crossed Sydney can look after themselves.''


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