Fifth Ashes Test goes to tender as Cricket Australia looks for Perth replacement

Cricket Australia says the venue for the fifth Ashes Test between Australia and England will be put out to tender.

The Test, scheduled for January 14-18, was earmarked for the Perth Stadium, but Cricket Australia decided to relocate the match because of that state’s COVID restrictions.

Tender documents were sent out to all state and territory cricket associations on Monday night, as well as governments and venues.

Cricket Australia has confirmed that a key criterion for the venue will be its ability to host a day-night pink-ball Test.

That criterion will benefit the game’s broadcasters, who benefit by having a larger viewing audience in the evening and will provide some compensation to losing the Perth Test, which is in a favourable time zone for east coast audiences.

The final decision will be made by Cricket Australia’s executive and recommended to the board.

It’s expected to take several days to a week to come up with the decision.

Cricket Australia said the final call would be based on several criteria, including:

•    the ability to stage a day-night test;

•    the ability to meet broadcasting requirements;

•    the ability to implement COVID-safe protocols for all players and staff; and

•    commercial considerations.

The Tasmanian government has already indicated it’s keen to host the Test in Hobart after missing out on the one-off Test against Afghanistan, postponed earlier this year.

Working against Hobart is the Bellerive Oval’s limited capacity compared with larger arenas, such as the MCG, the SCG, Adelaide Oval and the Gabba.

“Don’t double up, don’t give Melbourne or Sydney a second test, make history in Tasmania,” Tasmanian premier Peter Gutwein said. 

“We’ll be putting forward a proposal to Cricket Australia in the next 24 hours. I’ve spoken to Nick Hockley yesterday, and I’ll be speaking to him again today.

“We’re going to put forward our best foot on this. My message is, don’t be seduced by the bigger states, this is more than the bottom line, this is your chance to make history.”

The first Ashes Test begins tomorrow in Brisbane.

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