Recently elected president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Sourav Ganguly says it will be disappointing if the tour to Australia were marred by excessive player quarantine periods.
Ganguly was hopeful that Australia’s relatively low infection rates would allow India players to avoid an extended quarantine upon arrival for what he expects to be a landmark tour for skipper Virat Kohli.
Kohli became India’s most successful Test captain abroad last year, surpassing Ganguly’s own record of most away wins as skipper during the series in the Caribbean.
That doesn’t mean that Kohli has nothing to prove in Australia where he will be seeking a second series win in a row.
“In December we will be coming,” Ganguly told India Today. “We just hope the number of quarantine days get reduced a bit. Because we don’t want the players to go all that far and sit in hotel rooms for two weeks.
“It is very, very depressing and disappointing. We are looking at that, the quarantine thing. And, as I said, Australia and New Zealand have been in a good position except for Melbourne. So, from that point of view, we will be going there and hopefully, the quarantine days will be less, and we can get back to cricket.”
The BCCI have been forced to put off their T20 showpiece the Indian Premier League and given the way the virus has spread through the country it may be some time before visiting teams deem it safe to tour.
That makes the tour to Australia incredibly important to the BCCI from a revenue standpoint.
Ganguly is keen to ensure that the India team do their part on the field and he has been in touch with Kohli urging him and his team-mates to stay fit.
“His captaincy tenure is going to be a yardstick,” said Ganguly. “This will be a milestone series. I have been in touch with him, telling him, ‘You have got to stay fit. You haven’t played cricket for six months.”
“You have got to make sure your best bowlers are ready for the tour and fit. Whether it’s [Mohammed] Shami, whether it’s [Jasprit] Bumrah, whether it’s Ishant [Sharma], whether it’s [Hardik] Pandya, they have to be at the top of their match fitness when they land in Australia.”
The series had been scheduled to begin on 3 December with a Test at the Gabba in Brisbane, but the pandemic will doubtless have some impact on scheduling if not the chosen venues.
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