Cricket Australia (CA) on Monday confirmed that the fifth and final Ashes Test won’t be staged in Perth as originally scheduled due to Western Australia’s stringent Covid-19 travel restrictions.
The CA also said that no final call has been taken as to where the fifth Test will be played now and will be finalised in the coming days.
In a statement, Nick Hockley, CEO of CA said: “While every effort was made the ensure the fifth Vodafone #Ashes Test match could be staged in Perth, it is unfortunately not possible to align the respective priorities of the WA Government, CA and WA Cricket. We’ll provide an update on the replacement venue in due course.”
“We are particularly disappointed for Western Australian cricket fans who were so looking forward to seeing the first ever Ashes Test at the new stadium,” he added.
Hockley further said that CA would look to stage some BigBash League (BBL) games in Perth along with an ODI against New Zealand.
“We look forward to continuing to work closely with the WA Government, Perth Stadium and WA Cricket to hold upcoming BBL matches and the Dettol ODI v New Zealand in Perth and thank them for their continued support,” he added.
Notably, the decision comes after Western Australia (WA) Premier Mark McGowan had last week said that tough border restrictions would remain in place due to the emergence of the new Covid-19 variant and the players will have to quarantine for 14 days to be able to play the match.
Meanwhile, McGowan had also banned wives and girlfriends of the cricketers from attending the fifth Test at the Optus Stadium.
“We have put in place very strict rules. So we’ve said to them, ‘you need to have 14 days’ quarantine’. And that has to apply to all the broadcast staff, the cricket staff. They can’t just bring wives and girlfriends with them — same rules as we put in place for the AFL (Australian Football League). It’s up to them whether they want to adhere to those rules or not,” McGowan had said.
Later, WA Cricket chief executive Christina Matthews had said that the possibility of Perth hosting the fifth Test were 50-50 as McGowan had denied to open its borders with other states as he is aiming for atleast 90 per cent vaccination target.
Earlier in November, McGowan had said that he was “very confident” the Test match would be staged as per plan even if it would come just five days after the conclusion of the fourth Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).
Notably, McGowan was considering to wase the COVID-19 quarantine rules that players would have to adhere to given the Test match would be played just weeks before WA was due to throw open its borders however, the emergence of the new Omicron variant has now become a bone of contention.
Now, the CA might reportedly put the Bellerive Oval in Hobart on standby while the other option could be Canberra. Also, Victoria’s Sports Minister Martin Pakula had said that the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) would gladly host a second Test as well if Cricket Australia (CA) agrees.
The five-match Test series will begin on December 8 in Brisbane.
First Test: December 8-12, The Gabba
Second Test: December 16-20, Adelaide Oval
Third Test: December 26-30, MCG
Fourth Test: January 5-9, SCG
Fifth Test: January 14-18, TBD