Strict covid restrictions virtually rule Perth out for fifth Ashes Test

Even as Cricket Australia (CA) has announced Perth as the venue for the fifth and final Test of the upcoming Ashes series, the recent spike of the new Covid-19 variant cases could possibly shut the doors for Perth to host the contest.

Due to the new covid variant, Western Australia (WA) Premier Mark McGowan has said that tough border restrictions would remain in place and the players will have to quarantine for 14 days to be able to play the match at Perth. Meanwhile, McGowan has also announced to ban wives and girlfriends of the cricketers from attending the fifth Test, which is scheduled to be played from January 14 at the 60,000-capacity Optus Stadium.

“While the WA Premier previously said he was confident the finale would proceed with ‘very strong measures’ the emergence of the Omicron variant has thrown the state’s reopening plans into disarray. On Tuesday, Mr McGowan revealed cricketers will be required to quarantine for 14 days with wives and girlfriends to be banned from the highly-anticipated trip west,” a report in dailymail.co.uk said.

“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 said.

Recently, 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.

The five-match Test series will begin on December 8 in Brisbane,

Men’s Ashes

Squads

Australia: Pat Cummins (c), Steve Smith (vc), Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, Tim Paine, Jhye Richardson, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner

England: Joe Root (c), James Anderson, Jonathan Bairstow, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood

Schedule

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, Perth Stadium

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