October 23, 2021

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WA Cricket asks for an Ashes reshuffle over border concerns

The boss of WA Cricket says the order of Test matches for the upcoming Ashes series needs to be revisited to avoid issues around border restrictions. 

The Ashes are scheduled to begin in Brisbane on December 8, with games in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth rounding out the five-match series.

But WA Cricket chief executive Christina Matthews has asked Cricket Australia (CA) to shuffle the fixture.

“We’re scheduled for the fifth Test at the moment, which is the 14th of January, following Melbourne and Sydney. And when that was announced, we were happy with that,” Matthews said.

“But as things have played out over the year, with COVID, it’s looking like a really dangerous situation for us. And it’s important to be starting to talk about it now because the schedule for England’s got to be set.

“All the planning has to be put in place soon.

“We’ve requested that CA look at moving [Perth] to being one of the first three Tests and allowing Sydney and Melbourne to run naturally at the end of the series.”

A shot from the stands shows the MCG grounds, with socially distances crowds in the standsA shot from the stands shows the MCG grounds, with socially distances crowds in the stands
The Boxing Day Test is currently slated to be in Melbourne, as is traditional.(

AAP: James Ross

)

If that was to change, it would mean the MCG would not host the traditional Boxing Day Test, with the game to be held in either Brisbane, Adelaide or Perth.

Matthews said the absence of any international cricket would cost WA Cricket around $6 million, adding to a loss of the same last year when WA missed out on international cricket.

“Even though the [AFL] grand final has be moved two years in a row, moving a Boxing Day Test is another thing again,” Matthews said.

“But if we’re going to be truly about getting content in all states, and having the Ashes play as it should be played, we’ve got to think of what’s logical and what we know now.”

There is doubt the series will even go ahead, with uncertainty over which England players will make themselves available for the tour, with several reportedly concerned about travelling if families are not able to join them.

The pandemic has already robbed England of one Test, with the fifth match at Old Trafford early this month against India cancelled following a coronavirus outbreak in the Indian camp.

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