Worn-out track due to AFL ties may force ODIs out of Gabba: Report

TOPSHOT – Tim Cahill of Australia (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring against Syria during their 2018 World Cup football qualifying match against Syria played in Sydney on October 10, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / WILLIAM WEST / — IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE – STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE — (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)

New Delhi, Oct 23 (IANS) A turf worn out due to a long and delayed Australian Football League (AFL) — Australian rules football — season in Brisbane’s Gabba has emerged an issue ahead of the planned matches between India and Australia, according to the Australian media.

India’s cricket tour of Australia was slated to start on November 25 at the Gabba with three ODI matches just a month after the AFL’s Grand Final on Saturday, October 24, on the pitch. However, there are reports that it may begin in Sydney now although the information is yet to be confirmed.

The AFL season usually winds up in September-end with the Grand Final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), at least a couple of months before the stadium, having a drop-in wicket, gets to host an international cricket match.

However, due to Covid-19, the Grand Final this time has been delayed by almost a month and the venue for some other finals games this month has been Gabba where the cricket pitch is in-situ (natural) and not drop-in.

By Saturday, as many as five AFL games of Finals Series would have been hosted at the Gabba in October alone.

This is also the first time that the AFL final is being hosted outside Melbourne and the first time in 75 years it is being hosted outside of MCG.

Australian newspaper, Sydney Morning Herald had reported this concern earlier this week.

“… issue emerging out of Queensland on Monday was the state of the Gabba surface after hosting 34 AFL games before the historic grand final there on Saturday. A source said the ground was urgently looking for replacement turf to get it in condition for a cricket season supposed to start to with multiple matches between Australia and India,” the report stated.

The report said that the ‘worn-out turf’ has become the latest spanner in the works in Queensland.

Last month though a spokesperson from Queensland Cricket, which administers the Gabba, had said that there would no concern over the wicket.

Australian rules football is very keenly followed in Queensland.

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