Just over two weeks after mocking Tasmania for applying to host the fifth Ashes Test, the WACA chief executive has been forced to backflip.
Two weeks after claiming the Tasmanian government was “wasting (its) ink” by applying to host the fifth Ashes Test, the Western Australian Cricket Association’s chief executive has conceded there’s a “50/50” chance the fixture could indeed be moved from Perth.
Western Australia’s notoriously strict biosecurity protocols have cast doubt over its ability to host the final Test of the Ashes from January 14-18 as originally planned, especially given England’s hesitance to spend the summer locked down or in bubbles.
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Earlier this month, premier Mark McGowan said he was confident the Test could go ahead at Optus Stadium but ruled out the possibility of granting exemptions from quarantine for the cricketers, who finish playing in Sydney just four days before the Perth Test begins.
In the days following both McGowan’s comments and the postponement of the one-off Test with Afghanistan that was due to be played in Hobart, the Tasmanian government lodged a bid to have the fifth Ashes Test relocated to the Apple Isle.
In response, WACA chief executive Christina Matthews declared she was “happy to say (that) Tasmania wasted the ink in their printer” by trying to have the Test moved.
Just over two weeks later, Matthews has revised her stance on the matter.
“I’d probably say at the moment I’m 50-50. I’d gone as high as 97 per cent, but I’ve gone back to 50-50. We’ll wait and see,” Matthews told ABC Grandstand on Saturday.
The Ashes begin on November 8 in Brisbane but Matthews does not believe locking in a location for the fifth Test to be a matter of urgency.
“We’re slowly working on things behind the scenes. There’s great co-operation between Cricket Australia and the State Government and us as well,” Matthews said.
“It’s fair to say there’s a few hurdles to get across but the beauty is, we don’t have to make a decision tomorrow. We’re trying to imagine what it might be like in mid-January as opposed to what it’s like today.
“As everybody knows, our Government has very well known and strict protocols around different things and it’s a matter of whether cricket can meet those demands or not.”
Matthews previously said the West Australian government was investigating the possibility of allowing the visiting cricketers to complete a shorter stint of hotel quarantine on arrival.
“There is talk around somewhere between the four and the seven days (quarantine), so that is an issue that is being dealt with,” she said earlier this month.
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