Australia, India to arrive just 72 hours before SCG clash

Teams usually travel on New Year’s Eve to commence preparations for the Sydney Test, which is starting later than usual this summer, but that has been delayed until January 4.

They will instead train in Melbourne this weekend, giving them just two days to adjust to conditions at the traditionally spin-friendly SCG.

The Australian cricket team will be allowed into Queensland directly from Sydney to play their Test match at the Gabba in Brisbane if COVID bubble rules are applied.Credit:Getty Images

“Last night’s announcement is we’re proceeding in Sydney and we’re putting our plans in place to do that and to do that safely,” CA chief executive Nick Hockley said.

“Players will be in Melbourne for a few more days, training there and moving up to Sydney a couple of days ahead of the Test match.”

Though players can still head out to play golf and exercise outdoors while in Melbourne, Australian paceman Pat Cummins gave an insight to the morale within the hub.

“We’re still in pretty strict conditions here. There aren’t too many options. We’ll get around each other,” he said.

“The Big Bash each night is normally a meeting point for everyone to get into the team rooms and sit around to watch that. We’ll certainly switch off from cricket for a little while, even going for a walk or grabbing a bite to eat. Any ideas, let us know because we’re stuck a bit at the moment.”

As part of Cricket Australia’s agreement with Queensland Health, the two teams and broadcast staff must undergo hotel quarantine, leaving their rooms only to train and to play the match, in order to be granted exemptions into the state should border closures remain in place.

Sydney’s new positive case numbers have remained steady since the early days of the outbreak, but CA is confident even if there is a spike that measures in its hub will be satisfy Queensland health authorities.

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“That’s precisely the reason why we have our biosecurity protocols, why we have the measures in place, why we’re in a bubble in Sydney,” Hockley said.

“And the arrangements that we’re putting in place with the Queensland government are such that we can keep the playing cohort [and] the relevant broadcast crew all safe and move safely into Brisbane so that we can complete the full schedule whilst ensuring that we are being responsible and keeping the community safe.

“I want to reiterate our thanks for the support and co-operation of all the governments and particularly the health departments and chief health officers of respective governments who’ve been so critical to be able to put this summer on.”

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Andrew Wu writes on cricket and AFL for The Sydney Morning Herald

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