Western Australian cricket officials are increasingly bullish over the chances of Perth remaining as host of the fifth men’s Ashes Test.
- The Western Australian Cricket Association remains “positive” Perth will host the fifth Test
- Tasmania is bidding to have the Test moved to Hobart
- The fifth Test is scheduled to begin on January 14
The Western Australian government’s strict border policy and English players’ reluctance to accept biosecurity restrictions beyond their quarantine stint means the fate of the match — scheduled to begin in Perth on January 14 — remains unclear.
On Wednesday, Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein made a pitch to have the Test moved to Hobart.
But Western Australian Cricket Association chief executive Christina Matthews claimed Mr Gutwein was wasting his time.
Matthews said the drop in COVID-19 case numbers in NSW was helping her organisation’s chances of Cricket Australia and the Western Australian government reaching an agreement to cross the closed border.
One likely plan includes a push to have quarantine reduced from two weeks to four or five days for the players arriving from the Sydney Ashes Test.
As the current schedule stands, there is only a four-day gap between the SCG and Perth Tests, meaning the match would either need to be pushed back one day to January 15 or be started under quarantine protocols.
Any agreement on conditions would also need the sign-off from both Australia and England’s playing group.
“There is talk around somewhere between the four and the seven days [quarantine], so that is an issue that is being dealt with,” Matthews said.
“We remain very positive.
“We know that things are moving in the right direction. What we don’t know is when the final details will be put to bed.
“We will wait as we have always done for our government to sign off on it.
Matthews said she was aware any move to minimise quarantine time could draw criticism, given the stance the Western Australian government had taken throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
But she believed the government would be willing to do whatever possible to ensure the match was played at the 60,000-seat Perth Stadium.
“The Ashes Test match is a massive event. As big, if not bigger than the AFL grand final in terms of being on a worldwide scale,” Matthews said.
“I don’t think it’s something the government wants to lose easily. So they are working really hard to make it happen.
“There is always going to be someone who is unhappy with the arrangement and someone who has had an unfortunate experience with the [border] process.
“We’ll stick to what we’re doing and what we know, and hope that cricket fans get an opportunity to be part of the first-ever Ashes Test at Optus [Perth] Stadium.”