Cricket Australia has postponed a home Twenty20 series against West Indies as it moves closer to getting the green light for next month’s limited-overs tour of England.
Australia were slated to play West Indies in matches on 4, 6 and 9 October as part of their preparation for the T20 World Cup. The postponement of that has prompted the international schedule to be overhauled with the most notable change being that the Indian Premier League, which will now run from 19 September until 10 November in the UAE.
CA and the West Indies Cricket Board have agreed to delay this year’s T20 series, wanting it to coincide with the rescheduled T20 World Cup in Australia either in 2021 or 2022.
The Australians are still scheduled to face India in a T20 series from 11 to 17 October, but that series will also have to be shifted given it now falls in the middle of the IPL.
Justin Langer’s team has not taken the field since the trans-Tasman ODI at the SCG on 13 March.
The team and support staff are expected to board a charter flight later this month and start a tour of England on 4 September, playing three T20s and three ODIs. They will follow the same biosecurity protocols used throughout the recent England-West Indies series.
CA has been locked in discussions with all levels of government in Australia since the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic. The governing body, which has already named a 26-man squad for the proposed series in England, wants state-government exemptions to be ticked off before signing off on the UK tour.
The most important issue relates to the two-week quarantine period that players must serve upon returning to Australia, either via the IPL or after the one-day tour. Players will isolate in a hotel and follow standard protocols but CA is desperate for them to be given special permission to train.
Being stuck in a room for a fortnight will be particularly challenging for Pat Cummins and his fellow quicks, who risk breaking down if they do not build up bowling workloads before the Test series against India.
The other notable exemption relates to outbound interstate travel. CA is hoping the entire touring party will be allowed to fly from their respective home cities then catch the international flight on the same date.
Finch and star allrounder Glenn Maxwell are both based in Victoria, which has been brought to a halt by the health crisis and is the subject of border closures across the country.