Sourav Ganguly says Australia tour on; positive about India players' families allowed on tour

Sourav Ganguly: "I don't see a reason why the families won't be allowed to come. The Australian cricket board is trying to accommodate the families." Getty Images

The BCCI is yet to send a formal approval to Cricket Australia on the schedule for India's upcoming tour of Australia, but the Indian board president Sourav Ganguly has pointed out that Indian team will be travelling to Sydney immediately after the IPL which will finish on November 10. Sydney will be India's first destination, where they will contest the ODI and T20I series against Australia.

The white-ball segment, featuring three ODIs and as many T20Is, will be followed by the four-Test series, starting with the pink-ball match in Adelaide from December 17.

Both CA and BCCI have engaged in multiple meetings and discussions in the past several months, with the Covid-19 pandemic imposing severe restrictions on the travel arrangements. One of the BCCI's conditions was that it wanted the Indian players to train while serving the mandatory two-week quarantine period upon reaching Australia.

However, some of the state governments in Australia did not want to relax the guidelines owing to public health safety until the New South Wales government recently agreed to allow the teams to train while in quarantine.

"So far it (the tour) is [going] ahead," Ganguly told the Age on Monday. "The initial part will be in Sydney. We are still in discussions how to get the bio part and medical parts stronger, because it's a long tour but I am told Australia is Covid-free at the moment, there aren't many cases."

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Ganguly also said the BCCI was confident that players' families will be allowed to be accommodated in the biosecure bubble. Barring Indian support staff and the two Test specialists Cheteshwar Pujara and Hanuma Vihari, the rest of the players have been in the UAE for the IPL since the third week of August.

Most players have been living in the IPL bubble without their families and with another long tour in Australia, Ganguly said the BCCI had requested CA to accordingly allow them to join the tour. Entry of foreign nationals into Australia is the responsibility of the federal government - although individual states had to give approval to be the first port of entry - as New South Wales has done.

Ganguly, though, sounded positive about the families being allowed on the tour. "I don't see a reason why the families won't be allowed to come. The Australian cricket board is trying to accommodate the families. It should be okay."

However, he did not want to speculate on the India captain Virat Kohli potentially missing out one out of the two Tests - in Sydney and Brisbane - in the new year, as he and his wife Anushka Sharma are expecting their first child. "This is a personal question. I don't like to comment and I have not asked him," Ganguly said.