Western Australia’s sports minister has proposed swapping the dates of the Perth and Adelaide Ashes Tests in a last-ditch attempt to keep one of the high-profile matches in the series against England in his state.
Cricket Australia is expected to announce over the next few days that the fifth Test, scheduled for January 14-18 at Perth Stadium, will be switched to another city because of Western Australia’s hard line on quarantine.
Western Australia has largely managed to keep COVID-19 out with strict border controls and it currently bans travellers from New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia from entering the state without undergoing 14 days quarantine.
The fourth Test is scheduled to finish in the New South Wales capital of Sydney on January 9, leaving insufficient time for the players to complete their period of isolation.
Travellers to Western Australia from Queensland, where the first Test gets underway on Wednesday, are allowed to enter without quarantine and sports minister Tony Buti has suggested the players head straight to Perth from Brisbane.
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“If cricket isn’t able to meet our border rules for the fifth Test in Perth, then they should move the second Test to Perth instead,” Buti told The West Australian.
“It’s a no-brainer. As long as Queensland stays COVID-free then the teams can fly in ahead of the pink ball day-night Test, which is due to start on December 16.
“The simple solution would be to bring that test here while South Australia manages its COVID outbreak. Adelaide can then host the fifth test originally scheduled for Perth.”
Buti’s plan does not take into account the many thousands of tickets already sold for the December 16-20 Test at Adelaide Oval and it remains likely the fifth Test will be taken away from Perth.
Hobart, which was scheduled to host a Test against Afghanistan in November before it was postponed in the wake of the Taliban takeover of the country, is favourite to take over hosting rights.
Officials in Sydney and Melbourne have also indicated they would be prepared to host a second Test.