Gabba entree on menu
India likely to have to face the Test they shirked last time
PLAYER power is likely to deliver Brisbane the first Test against India next summer in a big win over subcontinental politics.
Virat Kohli’s men not only refused to play a day-night Test 12 months ago, but they flexed their muscle to avoid starting their tour at Australia’s stronghold the Gabba.
However, when India return for four Test matches this time next year as part of the new Test Championship, it appears as though Australia may get the schedule they desire by ticking the two key boxes of a series-opener in Brisbane and a pink ball Test in Adelaide.
Upgraded facilities around the country has made competition fierce for marquee Test matches, and on that front Brisbane has been left behind, but Australian players have made their fondness for the Gabba known to CA officials.
Australia has not lost at the Gabba in more than 30 years, partly because touring teams find it a daunting place to start.
Conscious of this, India negotiated cushier conditions to start on in Adelaide last summer, and took full advantage to register a 1-0 series lead.
The only other time in recent memory when Australia shifted a first Test away from Brisbane, they were ambushed in Perth by South Africa.
Cricket Australia are yet to finalise next year’s schedule, but the feeling at this stage is the Gabba is favoured to be reinstated as the first Test against India, although that would be preceded by Perth hosting a one-off Test against Afghanistan at the WACA.
That would be a major relegation for Perth given the brand spanking new Optus Stadium, and potentially broadcasters who like the late start on the west coast.
Australia is being forced to abandon home soil in midJanuary this summer to play three one-dayers in India, but the CA board is confident relations with India are good.