Crescent Kashmir

Hazlewood prefers Brisbane as venue for first India Test

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SYDNEY: Australia would prefer to play India in the first Test at the Gabba in Brisbane if the recent Covid-19 outbreak in Adelaide forces a change in venue, fast bowler Josh Hazlewood said on Wednesday.

The series opener is scheduled to start at the Adelaide Oval on Dec 17 but a new cluster of coronavirus cases in the state has cast doubts on whether the match will go ahead as neighbouring states closed their borders with South Australia.

Hazlewood said if they were to play at the Gabba, the fast bowlers would rather get the game out of the way before it became hotter and favoured the batsmen.

“It probably would be [the Gabba] to be fair,” Hazlewood told reporters. “I think the longer we wait the hotter it gets up there so the quicks would all be happy to get that game done in early December. We obviously have a really good record [in Brisbane] and it’s a great place to start.” Australia have not lost a test match at the Gabba since 1988.

The outbreak in Adelaide forced players such as captain Tim Paine into self-isolation while others preparing for the domestic Big Bash League were moved to a training camp on the New South Wales coast.

Cricket Australia, who had hoped to fill the Adelaide Oval with 27,000 fans — half its capacity — said on Tuesday that they ‘remained committed’ to playing the day-night Test match at the venue and were monitoring the situation.

Australia will first face India in three One-day Internationals and three Twenty20 Internationals starting from Nov 27 in Sydney.

Meanwhile, fast bowler Kane Richardson withdrew from Australia’s limited-overs squad to face India to stay with his wife and newborn son in Adelaide.

Richardson will be replaced by fellow quick Andrew Tye who was part of the squad on Australia’s recent white-ball tour to England.

“It was a difficult decision for Kane to make but one which has the complete support of the selectors and the entire playing squad,” national selector Trevor Hohns said. “Kane wanted to remain in Adelaide with Nyki and their newborn son. We will always support our players and their families, even more so given the challenging environment we are in.”

Batsmen Josh Philippe and D’Arcy Short were added to Australia’s training squad Wednesday as a precaution, with the remainder of the white-ball squad due to assemble in Sydney on Sunday.

Published in Dawn, November 19th, 2020

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