MCG proposes to host Test match between India and Pakistan

India vs Pakistan fixture of the T20 World Cup 2022 became the most watched match of the entire tournament, as it witnessed 256 million viewing hours just in India. The entire tournament attracted thousands of viewers, but the game between India and Pakistan, where the Men in Blue won on the final delivery of the game, turned out to be one of the most memorable ones.

Following the success of the memorable T20 World Cup between the two sides, the Melbourne Cricket Club, which manages the MCG, and the Victorian government have made preliminary requests to Cricket Australia about staging a Test match between India and Pakistan at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

On the fourth day of the second Test match between Australia and South Africa, MCC CEO Stuart Fox disclosed during a conversation on SEN radio that the club and the Victoria government had contacted CA about hosting a Test match at a neutral venue. Since 2007, India and Pakistan haven’t faced off in a Test match, and they haven’t played a bilateral series against each other since 2013.

Fox, though, stated that the MCC would be thrilled to host the two nations for a Test match after 90,293 spectators crammed into the MCG to watch the T20 World Cup’s thrilling last-ball match in October.

“Absolutely. Three (Tests) in a row would be lovely at the MCG. You’d fill it every time. We have asked. 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,” Stuart Fox was quoted as saying by a cricket news website.

“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,” Fox added.

Every cricket fan would want to witness a game between India and Pakistan, apart from the World Cup or Asia Cup fixtures. The Future Tours Program presently does not have any bilateral cricket matches between India and Pakistan planned between 2023 and 2027. There are still issues over the two teams visiting each other’s countries for the 2023 Asia Cup and ODI World Cup.

A Cricket Australia representative told a cricket news website that in the end, the BCCI and the PCB would be the ones to decide whether to hold a neutral Test or a Test series involving India and Pakistan, but added that CA would be interested in hosting a game at a neutral venue in Australia if the two cricketing boards somehow came to an understanding.

“It would be up to the two countries to agree. But if there was to be a Test between India and Pakistan on neutral territory, we would of course be interested in the opportunity to host it in Australia. The supporters of the two teams here for the World Cup were amazing and the vast majority of those fans live in Australia,” the spokesperson said.

The Boxing Day Test of 2023 is scheduled between Australia and Pakistan at the iconic MCG as the two sides will lock horns for a three-match series as part of the World Test Championship Cycle of 2023-25. Fox hopes that a Test between India and Pakistan at the MCG would attract the same number of audiences as the T20 World Cup game between India and Pakistan, and the summit clash between England and Pakistan, as the games saw more than 80,000 people visit the venue, with most of them being Pakistan supporters.