Cricket Australia says it won’t be rushed into a decision on the Sydney Test, insistent it is still their preference to play the match at the SCG from January 7.
State border closures on Sunday threatened to cause serious headaches for cricket officials, as Queensland, Victoria and South Australia shut the door on greater Sydney.
As it stands, the SCG is set to host the third Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series, with the Brisbane Test at the Gabba to follow from January 15 and exemptions required to cross the border.
Several alternatives have already been mooted, at least externally.
One includes Melbourne hosting Boxing Day and the New Years’ Test, while another would see Brisbane host the third and fourth Test.
Sydney and Brisbane could also swap their Tests to buy more time, while the SCG clash could also conceivably be moved to Manuka Oval in Canberra.
But CA boss Nick Hockley on Sunday said the sport still had time on its side.
“The third Test is more than two-and-a-half weeks away, which provides us with time to assess the evolving public health situation on the northern beaches of Sydney,” interim chief executive 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.”
Hockley also pointed to the fact both Adelaide and Melbourne had at different times looked in doubt this year, but are now both clear.
“It was less than a month ago that South Australians were contending with an outbreak of the virus in Adelaide and we have just completed a brilliant first Test at the Adelaide Oval,” he said.
“We faced similar issues in relation to the Melbourne Cricket Ground playing host to the Boxing Day Test.
“We are now less than a week away from welcoming back Victorian crowds after a difficult year for the state.”
CA on on Saturday pre-empted Victoria’s decision to close its border to greater Sydney, moving injured Test players David Warner and Sean Abbott to Melbourne.
The rest of the Australian squad will soon join them after taking a 1-0 series lead against India with an eight-wicket win in the first Test in Adelaide.
But the closure could present challenges for television networks and operators, some of whom do reside in Sydney.
Meanwhile, there are already likely to be challenges with the BBL.
Both the Perth Scorchers and Hobart Hurricanes are scheduled to travel from Sydney to Melbourne for games in mid-January, and would now require exemptions.
CA had also hoped a home finals series could be played after that.
Australia’s vice-captain Pat Cummins admitted the virus situation was something front of mind for players, with several of the squad from Sydney.
“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.”