International cricket will return to Australia in the COVID-19 era with the tour of India. Virat Kohli and Company will arrive Down Under directly from the United Arab Emirates where the Indian Premier League final is slated for November 10.
Indians will have to serve mandatory quarantine on their arrival in Australia even as the players will be coming from the IPL 2020 bio-secure bubble in the UAE.
Adelaide is planned as the entry point to Australia, it is reported that Cricket Australia is in talks with the Queensland Government to allow the squad to fly into Brisbane and in a two-week quarantine there ahead of the six white-ball games. The players expectedly will be allowed to train since they will be moving in from one biosecure bubble to another.
The players, whose teams do not qualify for the IPL knockout stage, will reportedly be leaving for Australia on November 4. The rest will leave after the final on November 10. However, sources in BCCI have not ruled out the possibility of everyone flying together, as it will make things logistically easier.
If players wish to take their families to Australia, they too have to go via Dubai like others and stay in quarantine in a separate hotel before being allowed to mix with the rest of the team.
The nearly three-month-long tour will include the while ball series in the T20 International and the One Day International series, to be followed by four Test matches. The tour will start with the three-match T20I series with as many ODIs to follow next.
In a major development for international cricket, Cricket Australia is expected to allow partial crowds, subject to clearance from the respective State Governments of the host venues.
According to the daily New Indian Express, Cricket Australia has asked the Board of Control for Cricket in India for a list of the touring party, which may include family members.
Brisbane will be hosting all the three T20Is, which are tentatively scheduled for Nov 27, 29 and December 2. Brisbane will also be the venue for the three ODIs on Dec 4, 6 and 9.
A four-day, warm-up game from Dec 11 and 13 will serve as a transition from the white ball series to Test cricket. The Tests are scheduled from Dec 17 to 21 at the Adelaide Oval under the lights; from December 26 to 30 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, from January 7 to 11 at the Sydney Cricket Ground and from January 15 to 19 at Gabba.
The State of Victoria has seen the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Australia. If the situation is not improved and the Victoria Government is not in a position to permit crowds, the Boxing Day Test might be moved to another venue.
While most of the players are in the UAE, playing the Indian Premier League, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari and the other support staff members will be joining the team in Dubai well in time to complete the quarantine period and enter the bio-secure bubble before departure to Brisbane.
Tentative schedule: T20Is: Nov 27,29, Dec 2. ODIs: Dec 4, 6, 9 (all in Brisbane). Warm-up match: Dec 11-13. 1st Test: Dec 17-21 (AO, D/N), 2nd: Dec 26-30 (MCG), 3rd: Jan 7-11 (SCG), 4th: Jan 15-19 (Gabba).