India women in Australia: Start delayed by two days, all games to be played in Queensland

India women in Australia: Start delayed by two days, all games to be played in Queensland

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Carrara to host one-off pink-ball Test and the T20Is, while Mackay will host the three-match ODI series

The first match on the India women’s team’s tour of Australia is set to be delayed by two days – from September 19 to September 21 – and the entire series of three ODIs, one day-night Test, and three T20Is will now be played in Mackay and Carrara in Queensland because of Covid-19-enforced restrictions.

The first ODI, which will kick off the exchanges, was originally slotted for North Sydney Oval, but is now going to be played in Mackay, where the second and final ODIs – originally set for Melbourne’s Junction Oval – would also be held.

In the original schedule, North Sydney Oval and Junction Oval, apart from Perth’s WACA Stadium (for the one-off Test), were the chosen venues. But the lockdowns around Australia have caused the rejig, and while there have no official announcements to this effect, ESPNcricinfo understands that while the standalone pink-ball Test is expected to be played on the original dates – September 30 to October 3 – it will now be played at the Metricon Stadium in Carrara in the Gold Coast. The same venue will host the tour-ending three-match T20I-series, which was originally slotted for Sydney.

All of this, however, is pending final approvals from the Queensland state government upon India’s arrival. The contingent is flying out this afternoon, and will reach Brisbane via Dubai, after which they will serve a 14-day hard quarantine that ends on September 13.

After the quarantine, the Indians will play a practice match in Brisbane on September 18. It is understood that the BCCI had asked for the warm-up game and multiple training sessions ahead of it following completion of quarantine, based on their takeaways from India’s tour of UK earlier this year, when there were no tour games, which affected the team’s preparations.

India’s touring party includes a total of 22 players and, apart from the support staff, two members of the selection panel – Neetu David, the chief selector, and V Kalpana.

Brisbane hosted the limited-overs series between Australia and New Zealand at the start of last season too, but the Allan Border Field, which traditionally hosts most women’s matches in the state, is out of commission because of redevelopment. As a result, Carrara’s Metricon Stadium, which is set to host its first WBBL fixture this season, has been identified as an alternate venue.

The Australian players who are not from Queensland are expected to start arriving next week, with those from Melbourne and Sydney required to quarantine.

“The reality is that the players in New South Wales are probably very much aware that to leave the state we will have to participate in some form of quarantine,” Australia vice-captain Rachael Haynes had told reporters earlier this month. “Exactly how that looks, whether it’s a hard hotel quarantine or perhaps like when we quarantined in Brisbane and we were able to train some capacity…”

Annesha Ghosh is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @ghosh_annesha