The Australian government has decided to seal its border for a period of the next six months as the aftermath of the ever-spreading threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the decision might have an adverse effect on the Futures Tours Programme (FTP) of Team India, including the much-awaited face-offs Down Under later this year. India’s tour of Australia is scheduled to commence with a T20 tri-series in October and end with the Tests in December.
The T20 World Cup is scheduled to commence on October 18, but the mega-event’s future has now been covered with the cloud of uncertainty due to the global health crisis. In Australia, there have been more than 2000 positive cases along with 16 reported deaths, prompting the government to seal the country’s borders.
The Sourav Ganguly-led BCCI, in all likelihood, might have to explore alternate plans amid the pandemic that has so far claimed over 30000 lives across the world. While the BCCI is yet to take a final call on this edition of IPL, the international calendar will be another cause of concern as there are tours of Sri Lanka (ODIs and T20s), Zimbabwe, Asia Cup (T20) and home a white ball series against England lined up.
A six-month travel ban means no teams will be able to enter Australia for the assignments lined up in the coming times, which includes the T20 World Cup and the tour by the Indian team.
A senior BCCI official said, “Right now it’s too early to say anything. It’s a potential six-month travel ban. If the situation is under control, it could be lifted early also.”
But those who have an idea of the FTP calendar acknowledged that the practical problem in such a situation could be the T20 tri-series, which starts at the beginning of October and involves Australia and England.
Describing the same, one of the sources of PTI in BCCI said, “If the international travel ban, in reality, exists for six months, then it becomes a logistical nightmare. At least, for the T20 tri-series before the World T20. The processing of visa, tickets everything becomes a logistical challenge. Also not only Australia, but England is also supposed to tour India in September for their white ball leg. Will things be normal in the UK and players allowed to travel. These are big questions.”
If the T20 World Cup gets postponed, the four-Test series between India and Australia, which is part of the World Championship, could also get affected.