Roberts confirms plans for shock England tour

Kevin Roberts has confirmed that Australia could make a shock coronavirus comeback in the country that has been overwhelmed by it - England.

The Cricket Australia chief executive revealed exclusively to The Daily Telegraph's roundtable of Australian sports bosses on Thursday night, that he has this week held talks with ECB counterpart Tom Harrison over biosecurity measures.

Roberts is now rating this summer's $300 million Indian tour as a "nine out of 10" chance of going ahead and is eager to adopt learnings from Harrison about the unprecedented security bubble England is putting in place to host Pakistan and the West Indies from July.

 

Kevin Roberts wants to get the game moving again. Photo: Daniel Pockett/Getty Images
Kevin Roberts wants to get the game moving again. Photo: Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

 

Australia may borrow from England's model, but equally, Roberts is hopeful it could pave the way for a stunning tour by Justin Langer's white ball team in September.

Until a couple of weeks ago, Australia's scheduled tour of England had been completely written off, but Roberts confirmed CA are considering it as the game's return from the wilderness.

"I think there's some chance we could send a team over," Roberts told The Daily Telegraph.

"Obviously we won't jeopardise the safety of the players, but the best test of that is that the West Indian and Pakistan tours of England before we're due to tour.

"We hope they go off without a hitch."

The Daily Telegraph understands Roberts' conversation with Harrison on Wednesday night centred around the ECB's plans to use the Rose Bowl in Southampton and one other ground as biosecurity villages for Pakistan and the West Indies.

The UK has several grounds with hotels attached, as Australia now has in Adelaide and Perth.

Australia need the Indian tour this summer to go off without a hitch, and are leaving no stone unturned in their preparation to host Virat Kohli and his entourage.

 

Justin Langer and his team could be back in the Old Dart. Photo: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Justin Langer and his team could be back in the Old Dart. Photo: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

 

Roberts is less confident the ICC T20 World Cup in October will go ahead. It's understood the ICC is looking at February, October 2021 and October 2022 as potential rescheduling options.

However, the crucial news for Australia is the Indian tour appears safe.

"I guess there's no such thing as certainty in today's world so I can't say 10 (out of 10), but I'm going to say nine out of 10," said Roberts about the prospects of India touring.

"With the variable being, who would know whether we can have crowds … I'd be really surprised if we can't get the Indian tour away. But I wouldn't, hand on heart suggest we'll have full crowds from the start. We'll just have to see how that goes."

 

Facing Virat Kohli seems increasingly likely. Photo: AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi,
Facing Virat Kohli seems increasingly likely. Photo: AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi,

 

Roberts admits he has two regrets from his handling of the coronavirus crisis that's rattled the game over the past month.

Firstly, over-communicating to States about CA's plans and confusing them. And secondly, not communicating enough with staff, who were stunned when told they would be stood down on just 20 per cent pay after previously having the impression cricket was in a position to ride out the storm.

"We were communicating every couple of days via these sorts of video meetings with our state and territory members and the information was changing. It was with the best of intentions, but that was creating a bit of confusion," he said.

"The other was not enough communication with our people in the days leading up to the stand downs. With the best of intentions we let them have an Easter break before communicating about the stand downs, not wanting to ruin anyone's Easter break.

"I wish we spent an extra two or three days walking them through the situation and the rationale for the stand downs post Easter. It's all OK now, but there was a bit of unintended pain there for a couple of days."

Originally published as Roberts confirms plans for shock England tour