Australia limited-overs captain Aaron Finch suggested he would be willing to miss the early half of the Australian domestic season to take part in the Indian Premier League (IPL) should this year’s Twenty20 (T20) World Cup be postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“That isn’t really up to me. I have a contract in place in the IPL and I have a contract in place with Victoria. If Cricket Australia grants the Australian players an NOC (no-objection certificate), there is every chance that we will all be able to play the IPL,” Finch told Sportstar. “But it is out of my control. At this stage, we are still planning for a World Cup until the official announcement is made.”
Lack of crowds
Contracted to the Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), which signed him for ₹4.4 crore for the 2020 tournament, Finch, asked about the shape of cricket when it does resume in a changed universe, said Test cricket will remain the pinnacle of the sport, the financial allure of T20 cricket notwithstanding. “Test cricket is still the traditional form of cricket, so as long as cricket is being played, there will be Test cricket,” Finch said. “A good example of this is the first cricket being played post-lockdown is Test cricket in the UK (England takes on the West Indies in a three-match Test series). I am really looking forward to watching and seeing how it all unfolds.”
Asked about how the lack of crowds, should the Test and the limited-overs series against India take place behind closed doors, could affect the morale of the teams, Finch said Australia might have an advantage. “Some players thrive in the atmosphere of a big crowd, so they will have to adjust. Being professional sportsmen, we will need to learn to adapt to all conditions. India has some very passionate supporters who [make you] feel like you are playing against more than the Indian 11 players, so having no crowds will probably benefit our team.”
Finch (not in picture) hopes that the proposed Boxing Day Test later this year against India isn’t moved out of Melbourne. Photo: Getty Images
Boxing Day dilemma
There is speculation that the Boxing Day Test against India later this year could be moved out of Melbourne if the COVID-19 situation doesn’t improve in Victoria. On Tuesday, Melbourne, Australia’s second biggest city, went into lockdown amid surge in coronavirus cases.
Finch, however, is hoping that the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) will host the marquee clash as is the norm. “People will make the decision that is best for cricket and that will be having as many spectators at the game as possible. The Boxing Day Test is still six months away, so a lot can happen and change. Being the proud Victorian that I am, it would be a real shame for the Test match to be moved away from Melbourne,” he said.
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