Melbourne: Cricket Australia is exploring five-match Test series against India without spectators later this year to recover the monetary losses with the impact of coronavirus pandemic.
Thepandemic has delivered a significant financial hit to CA that has led to the imminent stand down of a majority of its workforce, and also cast doubt over the likelihood of major upcoming events including the men's T20 World Cup in Australia in October-November this year and the Border-Gavaskar Trophy Series against India.
"Along with the BCCI and the Indian players and support staff, we want to stage a series that inspires the cricket world whether there's people at the venue, sitting in the stands, or not which in turn will bolster the organisation's financial position and that of other cricket nations around the globe," CA Chief Executive Kevin Roberts said on Tuesday.
While there was no immediate plan to expand the scheduled four-Test series for next summer, such is the economic impact of India touring with its enormous television viewing audience ? reportedly worth around $300 million to CA's coffers in 2020-21 ? it remains up for discussion.
"We've discussed a shared desire to evolve to a five-Test series between Australia and India in the future, just like both our nations play five Tests series against England," Roberts told a video media conference on Tuesday.
"It's something we're both committed to, in principle, in the future and the big question is whether or not we can bring that in before the next Future Tours (Program) cycle in 2023.
"We don't know what realistic prospect there is of that next season, but certainly with a changing landscape that's moving every single day we won't rule out the possibility of that until we get closer to the time, even though all the planning has been done based on a four-Test series thus far."
The preparedness to consider all possibilities and "creative solutions" to minimise adverse impact on the 2020-21 season also reflects the critical timing of the coronavirus crisis, which hit CA at the most vulnerable point in its four-year business cycle.(UNI)