Australia still negotiating India's arrival for test series

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Only a few weeks before the players are due to start arriving, Cricket Australia are still negotiating with Queensland health officials over the quarantining of the India team ahead of their blockbuster test series.

The India squad is scheduled to quarantine in Brisbane and play six short-form internationals in Queensland in late November and early December before moving on to Adelaide for the first of four tests.

The Indian and many of the Australian players will be coming from the United Arab Emirates, where the Indian Premier League (IPL) concludes on Nov. 10, but CA have not yet had their plans agreed by Queensland's health department.

CA said they held a "productive" meeting with Queensland Health on Monday and were confident of hosting "a full schedule of matches" against India.

"This is an extremely detailed and complex plan that places the health and safety of the community, players and staff as paramount and there is clarification required in order to finalise arrangements," CA said.

"We would like to thank our friends at the BCCI for their patience and understanding as we work towards a swift and successful outcome."

Queensland was the most successful of the populous eastern Australian states at containing the new coronavirus and closed its borders to the rest of the country in early August.

Health security has become an issue in campaigning for state elections to be held on Oct. 31 and a rugby league team from Canberra was last week denied permission to arrive in the state a few hours early before a major match in Brisbane.

If CA cannot reach agreement with Queensland Health, they might soon have to start looking at other options to ensure the lucrative series goes ahead.

The chairman of the Sydney Cricket Ground Trust, which controls the historic venue and other stadiums in the city, said New South Wales would be willing and able to help out.

"We've got ground availability, we've got the processes and we can certainly manage the biosecurity. We'd certainly be a very willing substitute," Tony Shepherd told the Sydney Morning Herald on Tuesday.

"We'd be interested in helping cricket in any way we could."

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Peter Rutherford)

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