We are doing everything to kick-start Australian summer - Oliver

Posted August 15, 2020 by topcrickets

Australia's first taste of international cricket after the long Covid-19 enforced hiatus will be the upcoming tour of England

Ben Oliver, Cricket Australia's head of the national teams, believes that the summer schedule will go as per plans despite the Covid-19 outbreak in Australia, resulting in uncertainty over some venues being able to host matches.

Oliver, however, admitted that there would be challenges on the way, as the board looks to kick-start the home summer amidst the constantly evolving Covid-19 situation.

"We are doing everything we can to get those matches played," he said. "To be honest it's not without its challenges, there is some complexity in the schedule and our ability to move around the country but we have great support and commitment from our various partners including Afghanistan and India. We are working through that now and everyone is committed to getting as much cricket played as possible," he added.

Australia's first taste of international cricket after the long Covid-19 enforced hiatus will be the upcoming tour of England. Aaron Finch's men will feature in a short series of three T20Is, followed by three 50-over games - all the matches are scheduled to be held in the bio-secure bubbles of Southampton and Manchester.

"It's certainly a challenging time for a lot of people, sports and organisations. so this tour was no different. very complex, challenging. but really pleased we were able to get the tour off the ground in conjunction with the ECB.

"Our biosecurity team, led by our chief medical officer and head of sports science have done a fantastic job making sure we build out our protocols, keep our players and staff safe first and foremost. With the ECB to make this an end to end project, players and staff already are working through their pre-departure protocols, we'll obviously be on a charter flight that has a range of measures around it. Then on the ground in England, the ECB set up a fantastic biosecurity environment," he said.

While a full-strength team has been named for the tour, Andrew McDonald, the assistant coach, will not travel with the side. Instead, he will travel to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where he will link up with the Rajasthan Royals - with whom he has a pre-existing contract as the head coach. Oliver was fine with the arrangement and reasoned that McDonald's experience as the head coach of Royals could be valuable in the future.

"When Andrew came onboard that was part of our agreement with him. That he would be able to continue as head coach of the Rajasthan Royals - and we're really comfortable with that. We believe that's a beneficial outcome for Andrew's development as a coach, but also for our players having someone who has had that experience and bringing it back into our environment, particularly with 3 white-ball World Cups coming up in the next 3 years. two of them in India. It's really a valuable experience for Andrew and our team."

On their part, Australia have announced a 21-man squad for the matches in England, and Pat Cummins has been named as the sole vice-captain to Finch. This marks a paradigm shift from the previous approach where they had named two deputies.

"The dual vice-captains have worked incredibly well over the last 2 years and was really about making sure that, in this case Aaron in the white-ball format, had good support and we were able to develop broader leadership within the group. We certainly feel now that there is strong leadership throughout the group, a number of senior players. and we felt, especially the selection panel in conjunction with Aaron felt this was an appropriate time to return to a single vice-captain," he noted.

With as many as 12 players having lucrative IPL contracts, the players are expected to head to the UAE after the conclusion of the white-ball series. Oliver said that Cricket Australia (CA) would be in constant touch with the contingent and would work out a program on their return in November. "The players typically love playing in the tournament, we know it's a really important tournament for world cricket and we are supportive of our players participating in the IPL.

"We are working with BCCI and our other international partners and our partners locally here, our broadcasters, government etc to understand the flow-on impact from the postponement of the T20 World Cup and the rescheduling of the IPL and how do we make this work as best we can across all of our cricket we have this summer. Flowing from that will be discussions with individual players about their schedule in the IPL and on return from Australia."

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Last Updated August 15, 2020