Why 5th Ashes Test will not be played at Perth?

Image Credit: The Guardian

On Wednesday, December 8, the 2021-22 Ashes series will begin at The Gabba in Brisbane. Due to the covid-19 situation, the fifth match of the series has been moved out of Perth. The Western Australian government has imposed strict quarantine rules and border controls.

Cricket Australia’s chief executive, Nick Hockley, indicated that efforts were taken to keep the game at the Optus Stadium through close consultation with Western Australia cricket, but that it was not possible to proceed as scheduled.

“In recent months, we acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of the WA Government, appropriate authorities, and Perth Stadium,” Hockley said.

The replacement venue for the Test, which is set to begin on January 14, has still to be decided, with Hobart, Melbourne, and Sydney all interested in hosting.

It means Perth will be without a Test for the second year in a row, following missing out on a proposed historic first Test between Australia and Afghanistan last season due to Covid.

“We are very unhappy that the fifth men’s Ashes Test will not be played at Perth Stadium,” Cricket Australia chief Nick Hockley said before of the Ashes’ start in Brisbane on Wednesday.

The late proposal of a Test exchange was never going to happen, and the South Australian Cricket Association immediately shot it down on Monday, just before the CA announcement.

With Cricket Tasmania chief executive Dominic Baker insistent that the Tim Paine controversy should have no bearing on any choice, Hobart remains a slight favourite to be the substitute venue ahead of Melbourne.

Last month, Tasmania, which hadn’t hosted a Test since 2016, was supposed to host the one-off Test between Australia and Afghanistan.

Both the NSW government and Cricket ACT have expressed interest in hosting the match, if necessary, at the SCG and Manuka Oval, respectively.

Last Monday, WA’s tough quarantine laws were confirmed by state Premier Mark McGowan, meaning players returning from the fourth Test in Sydney will have to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival.

After an ambitious last-minute attempt by Perth, West Australia, to switch its Test match with Adelaide’s, which a state senior government official called a “no-brainer,” the decision to jettison Perth was made.

After the first Test in Brisbane, Adelaide will host the second Test starting on December 16.

Travelers from Brisbane do not have to go through quarantine when they arrive in Perth, and state Sport and Recreation Minister Tony Buti said it made sense to rearrange the locations.

“If cricket can’t meet our border rules for the fifth Test in Perth, the second Test should be moved there instead.” He stated, “It’s a no-brainer.”

Following the discovery of the virus’s new Omicron form last month, WA Premier Mark McGowan reinforced the state’s strict quarantine regulations for visitors from New South Wales.

Players, their families, match and broadcast officials travelling to Perth following the fourth Test in Sydney (January 5-9) would be obliged to complete a 14-day quarantine upon arrival in WA under those standards.

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