Melbourne, Dec 24 : For the first time in 40 years, Australia cricketers will spend Christmas and take field for the Boxing Day Test on Saturday without their families. The Boxing Day Test, beginning on December 26 i.e. the day after Christmas, has been a regular fixture in Australian summer since 1980.
Prior to 1980, Tests on Boxing Day were played only on five occasions — in 1950, 1952, 1968, 1974 and 1975. But since 1980, it has become an iconic Test with families joining the players.
However, in the absence of their families this time due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Aussie cricketers are holding together as a family unit amid the series against Team India.
“First time in 50 years I am not with my family. I think it will be nice to have players together. There are a number of players and the staff who are without families. It is one of the sacrifices we have had to make in 2020. It is not ideal. But it is what it is. Such an amazing feel within the team. Honestly, it is a family feel. The guys look after each other. It is one of our values to look after each other in mateship. It is not ideal but we will get on with it for the bigger picture,” said Australia head coach Justin Langer on Thursday while speaking to the media during an interaction.
Praising Cricket Australia (CA) for the job they have done in arranging a full summer amid the global pandemic, Langer said, “We know the complications, the stake holders, the very fact that we played the Adelaide Test last week was brilliant…The guys who have known me have heard me say that it is the favourite day in my calendar for as long as I can remember. Boxing Day this year is a bit different this year without our families.”
He, however, acknowledged the sacrifices people have made to make the Test happen this year, even though the crowd will be restricted to less than one-third at 30,000.
“The fact that we are playing the Boxing Day Test…30,000 is better than none. It wasn’t that long ago, probably a few months ago, we wondered whether we would have a Boxing Day test in Melbourne. Every time I come here, I pinch myself. I have come here a lot. It’s just an amazing stadium. There’s so much hype about it and the boys love playing here. The Indians will love it. It won’t be the same as 90, but the 30,000 who come will provide thrill,” said the 50-year-old, who played 105 Tests and eight ODIs for Australia.
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