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Explained: Why Virat Kohli & Co. will travel to Melbourne via Motera

India vs Australia tour: The finer details are still being worked out. But as things stand, two-week quarantine followed by periodic testing of players will be the way forward.

Written by Vishal Menon , Edited by Explained Desk | New Delhi | Updated: July 22, 2020 11:08:28 am
Renovated at a cost of approximately Rs 800 crore, Motera stadium has replaced the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground as the world’s largest cricket stadium. (Express Photo by Javed Raja)

There’s a good chance that the BCCI will be organising a training camp for the Indian team under a bio-secure environment at Ahmedabad’s refurbished Motera Stadium before they embark on the much-anticipated tour of Australia in December this year.

How did Motera Stadium emerge as the preferred venue for holding a training camp for the Indian team?

During BCCI’s Apex Council meeting on Friday, several venues including Bengaluru’s National Cricket Academy were discussed for conducting the training camp. Ultimately, a consensus had emerged on the Motera Stadium, owing to its state-of-the-art training facilities along with the plush in-built accommodation centre. “We cannot go to the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru as the city is witnessing a surge in Covid-19 cases. Hence, Ahmedabad with the facilities, is a place where we can hold a training camp under a bio-secure environment,” the Apex Council member who attended the meeting told ANI.

India Australia series is worth $300million, including broadcasting rights. (Source: File Photo)

How did this venue attain so much importance in recent times?

Barring fleeting moments of individual brilliance in the 1980s — Kapil Dev’s sensational 9-wicket haul and Sunil Gavaskar crossing the 10,000 run-mark in Test cricket — the Motera Stadium, by and large, had remained on the cricketing periphery. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have been instrumental in getting this venue back on the world map. In 2014, when Modi assumed power, he gave the nod to refurbish this venue. Renovated at a cost of approximately Rs 800 crore, it has replaced the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground as the world’s largest cricket stadium, boasting of a seating capacity of over 1,10,000. On February 24, the Motera Stadium hosted the gala ‘Namaste Trump’ event. And if things go according to plan, this venue could also feature India and England in a Day/Night Test match early next year.

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What are the bio-secure protocols for Virat Kohli’s team once they land in Australia?

The finer details are still being worked out. But as things stand, two-week quarantine followed by periodic testing of players will be the way forward. But BCCI president Sourav Ganguly wants a shorter quarantine period for the Indian team. “We just hope the number of quarantine days gets reduced a bit,” Ganguly told India Today. “Because we don’t want our 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,” he added.

What are the measures taken by Cricket Australia to ensure this series gets underway despite the shadow of the pandemic looming large?

A lot is riding on the line for Cricket Australia. This series is worth $300million, including broadcasting rights. With their finances having taken a hit due to the pandemic, the India series is being seen as redemption for Australian cricket. In essence, they are leaving no stone unturned to make sure this series goes ahead without any glitches. For this, Cricket Australia executives have been in touch with their counterparts at the England and Wales Cricket Board to understand how they’ve handled the complexities of staging the ongoing Test series between England and West Indies under the shadow of Covid-19.

“The ECB have been brilliant at engaging with us about their plans and what they’re experiencing currently in running the Test series with the West Indies, and they’re also scheduled to have Pakistan and Ireland before us…there’s no doubt that learnings will be taken from that and we’re in regular discussion with them,” CA Executive General Manager of National Teams Ben Oliver told cricket.com.au.

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