Great news for Melbourne as crowds predicted for Boxing Day Test

Australia’s response to the coronavirus rests with the individual states that make up the Commonwealth of Australia.

And for Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, battling a pandemic that peaked at 715 daily cases on August 5 in his state, the imposition of a draconian four-month lockdown has seen him roundly criticised by friend and foe alike.

Yesterday’s decision to relax that lockdown was not enough to allow crowds into next month’s Melbourne Cup which will play out to a near-empty venue, or the Aussie Rules grandfinal which took place last Saturday night and was, for the first time ever, not in the state of Victoria.

But … but a crowd has been all but guaranteed for the traditional Boxing Day cricket Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, according to Cricket Australia.

Channel Nine news reported that Monday the Victorian premier choked back tears as he announced the end to that punishing four-month lockdown

Cricket Australia is believed to be very close to locking in its international schedule for this summer, which is highlighted by a blockbuster four-Test series against India.

Premier Andrews said any ongoing restrictions are unlikely to apply for the biggest day in Australian cricket.

‘The Boxing Day Test of course is very different because that is some way off,’ he told reporters.

‘I am very confident that we will get a crowd at the MCG for the Boxing Day Test.

‘I don't know how big it will be but there will be a crowd, that's the advice that I have, that's what we're working towards.’

More than 80,000 people attended day one of last year's Boxing Day Test as Australia crushed New Zealand.

In 2018 – the last time Virat Kohli's India toured Australia – 73,516 fans were on hand at the MCG for day one.

Sachin Tendulkar’s final Test appearance at the MCG, for the Boxing Day Test in 2011, produced a passionate standing ovation from the raucous but knowledgeable Melbourne crowd

The NSW government has signed off on Cricket Australia's quarantine proposal, with an updated schedule for India's tour expected to be finalised soon.

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Charlie Charters is a former rugby union official and sports marketing executive turned thriller writer whose debut book Bolt Action was published by Hodder & Stoughton in 2010.
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