Brisbane is pushing to host Virat Kohli’s Indian team next summer. Picture: AAP
Brisbane is pushing to host Virat Kohli’s Indian team next summer. Picture: AAP

Gabba aiming high with India blockbuster

Cricket Australia has been urged to host India at the Gabba next summer or risk losing another home series to Virat Kohli's all-conquering Test team.

 

The Gabba has launched a bid to secure a blue-chip Test against India next summer in what will be one of the most anticipated series in recent history.

 

Steve Smith's return from a ball-tampering suspension will pit the Australian star against Kohli in a showdown between the world's two best batsmen.

 

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Brisbane is pushing to host Virat Kohli’s Indian team next summer. Picture: AAP
Brisbane is pushing to host Virat Kohli’s Indian team next summer. Picture: AAP

The incredibly popular Indians will play four Tests in Australia over the 2020-21 summer, of which two matches are up for grabs.

 

The MCG and SCG are guaranteed the Boxing Day and New Year's Tests, leaving Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide to jostle for the remaining two fixtures.

 

India recorded a famous 2-1 series win when it toured Australia last summer after the Gabba was overlooked for hosting rights.

 

The politically-powerful Indians are reluctant to play at the Gabba given Australia has not lost a Test in Brisbane since 1988.

 

Australia lost the opening Test of last summer's series by 31 runs at the Adelaide Oval, a venue Kohli loves, but South Australia is pushing for a day-night fixture next summer, a concept India has been hesitant to embrace.

 

Australia comfortably won the second Test at the new Perth Stadium and the Gabba is hoping to be brought back into the equation.

 

Queensland sports minister Mick de Brenni said it was a "no-brainer" for Australia to face India at the Gabba if it wanted to kick-start the series with a win.

Next summer’s Test series against India will pit Steve Smth (pictured) against fellow champion batsman Virat Kohli. Picture: Getty Images
Next summer’s Test series against India will pit Steve Smth (pictured) against fellow champion batsman Virat Kohli. Picture: Getty Images

"The Gabba is an icon of the Queensland and Australian cricketing landscape so it's no surprise the Aussies want to play here seeing how their unbeaten Test record since 1988 intimidates the opposition," he said.

 

"With a world-renowned wicket that makes for consistently exciting play, it should be a no-brainer that Cricket Australia choose the Gabba for the India Test match next summer. 

 

"If you want to see the Aussies dominate the field, there's no better place than the Gabba."

 

If the Gabba is overlooked for a Test against India, it will host newly-crowned Test nation Afghanistan next November.

 

While the match would be Afghanistan's first Test in Australia, it would be far from the blockbuster India series and cost Queensland millions in revenue.

 

Queensland Cricket CEO Terry Svenson said the Australian team's record at Gabba was a compelling reason to start the Indian series in Brisbane next year.

 

"There are Test championship points at stake and with India winning the series the last time they toured, it is vital for the Australian team to have the best possible chance to start the series with a victory,'' he said.

 

Australia’s Kurtis Patterson launches to catch Sri Lanka’s Dilruwan Perera in the first Test at the Gabba in January. Picture: AAP
Australia’s Kurtis Patterson launches to catch Sri Lanka’s Dilruwan Perera in the first Test at the Gabba in January. Picture: AAP

"Queensland Cricket would certainly welcome the allocation of the opening Indian Test to the Gabba in what will be an eagerly anticipated contest.

 

"The Australian players are always enthusiastic to play Test cricket at the Gabba and we are excited to host them later this month."

 

Australia will open its 2019-20 campaign against Pakistan at the Gabba from November 21, the start of what is an underwhelming summer of Test cricket with a series against New Zealand to follow.

 

The Gabba has slipped to Australia's fifth-ranked cricket venue following the upgrade of the Adelaide Oval, development of Perth Stadium and the historic MCG and SCG.

Action from the day/night Test against Sri Lanka in January. The Gabba has slipped to Australia’s fifth-ranked cricket venue. Picture: Getty Images
Action from the day/night Test against Sri Lanka in January. The Gabba has slipped to Australia’s fifth-ranked cricket venue. Picture: Getty Images

The state government has committed $35 million to upgrading the ageing stadium, however missing out on India again would be a compelling argument for further improvements.

 

"Our $35 million redevelopment plans have already helped Queensland secure the Gabba as the venue for the first Ashes Test in 2021 and I'm confident this infrastructure investment will translate to The Gabba securing premium cricketing content for the future," de Brenni said.

 

"The decisions around where and when to play international first class cricket are made on a range of factors. These days broadcast timings play a key role, which are out of anyone's control, but we'll be putting our best foot forward on every other factor."