5:51 PM ISTFollow on TwitterAndrew McGlashanCloseAndrew McGlashanDeputy editor, ESPNcricinfo
India are set to play their first day-night Test in Australia at the Adelaide Oval and an opening Test at the Gabba in Brisbane, where the hosts have not been beaten since 1988, if the tour gets the green light with Perth having to accept the opportunity to host Afghanistan at the WACA.
Cricket Australia is due to confirm its tentative schedule for the 2020-21 season by the end of this week but although venues will be allocated there will be a lot of uncertainty remaining depending on how the Covid-19 situation develops over the next few months. However, the prospect of needing hub venues to host multiple Tests appears to have receded.
The India Test series will be scheduled to start in the first week of December in Brisbane - where they did not play on their successful 2018-19 visit - before heading to Adelaide for the pink-ball match that has become a traditional part of the Australia season but was absent on India's previous visit, before the holiday-season Tests in Melbourne and Sydney.
Whether there is any chance of crowds being present at matches during the summer will depend on developments at government level regarding mass gatherings.
The Test season will be pencilled in to start at the WACA when Australia play Afghanistan for the first time in Test cricket. The association had pushed hard for an India Test at the Optus Stadium where Australia secured their one victory in the 2018-19 season, with matches on the west coast also favourable to the Indian time zone, but they will have to make do with an ODI against them this time.
If the Afghanistan Test goes ahead as planned, it will be the first at the WACA in three years. Given the presence of two Test venues in the city, the state association had put themselves forward as a hub venue - along with Adelaide - should the India tour have to be based in a restricted number of cities for bio-security reasons.
There remain many moving parts to the schedule, including T20I series against West Indies and India in the early part of the season meant to act as warm-ups for the T20 World Cup which is now expected to be postponed. The ODI series against India, currently set as three matches in January, may expand.
There is a chance the team could still travel overseas this year with the possibility of the limited-overs tour of England that was due for July moving to September. If the T20 World Cup is postponed, there are strong suggestions the IPL could take its place, meaning those Australian players with deals would miss part of the domestic season.
"It's not necessarily a new problem; we've had the Champions League in that time of the year for probably half a dozen years which has clashed with the domestic schedule here, so I'm sure whatever the solution we'll sort it out," Pat Cummins, who has a record US$2.2 million deal with Kolkata Knight Riders, said. "It's a once-off [the current situation]; it's unprecedented, so we'll wait and see. Nothing's for certain yet."