India v Pakistan Test at the MCG could be a reality soon
An India-Pakistan Test match after 15 long years at the iconic MCG? Most fans would shout, "Bring it on!!", for the prospect of the two neighbours battling it out in the traditional format of the game after a decade and a half.
The last time the two countries faced off in red-ball cricket was way back in the 2007 Bangalore Test, the last of Pakistan's three-Test series on Indian shores. From then on, geo-political differences have meant the two nations have only played each other in limited-overs cricket and that, too, mainly in multi-team events such as the World Cup and the Asia Cup.
There is a slim chance, however, that the India-Pakistan Test match rivalry could resume in Australia at the marquee Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in the near future.
This, after the Melbourne Cricket Club, which manages the ground, and the Victorian Government queried to Cricket Australia (CA) if there is a possibility of the ground proving to be an India-Pakistan battleground for a Test match.
An India-Pakistan Test at MCG?
The development was confirmed by MCC chief executive Stuart Fox. Speaking on Australian-based SEN radio, Fox confirmed that the club and the Victorian government sporting authorities have collectively asked CA if there is a possibility that India and Pakistan could face off in a Test match at the MCG.
The MCC and Victorian government are extremely keen to host the two nations for a Test at the height of the Australian summer, alongside the traditional Boxing Day Test in which hosts Australia take part in, after seeing over 90,000 fans pack the MCG for the recent T20 World Cup encounter between them.
"Absolutely. Three [Tests] in a row would be lovely at the MCG. You'd fill it every time. We have asked," Fox was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. "We've taken that up with Cricket Australia. I know the [Victoria] government has as well. Again, it's enormously complicated from what I can understand, amongst a really busy schedule. So I think that's probably the greater challenge."
"Wouldn't it be great that it wasn't just Australia-centric and Victoria-centric, that we're catering for all the countries and filling the stadium all the time. So we have asked."
"Hopefully, Cricket Australia keep taking it up with the ICC and keep pushing for it. When you do see some of the stadiums around the world unoccupied, I think it would be much better to have a full house and that atmosphere and celebrating the game with full houses," he added.
There is, however, very little chance of an India-Pakistan MCG Test coming to reality, keeping in mind the indifferences between the two countries' governments and therefore, the lack of permission for the two cricket boards to put their respective teams on the park for a bilateral affair.