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  • Jason Regan

Perth Ashes Test set to be shifted

Confirmation of the fifth men's Ashes Test being shifted away from Perth is expected to come soon, with Cricket Australia (CA) set to expedite its search for a new host city.

Negotiations between CA and Western Australia's government have seemingly hit a brick wall. The growing expectation among players, broadcasters and other stakeholders is it is a matter of when, not if, they will be told the series finale is being staged elsewhere.

The prospect of a day-night Test at the MCG, beginning on January 14 and running into the start of the Australian Open, has excited legend Shane Warne, Victorian sports minister Martin Pakula and several others.

The SCG would also prove a lucrative option, while Tasmania's state government has sought support from the players' union as it seeks to stay in the mix.

Broadcasters are believed to be firm in the view the game should be played with a pink ball, given they will be missing out on prime-time fodder for the east coast that Optus Stadium generates via time zone difference.

CA, still searching for a permanent chair after Cricket NSW, Queensland Cricket and Cricket WA forced the resignation of Earl Eddings, is caught in a complex web of concerns about the new venue just one week out from the start of the series.

The governing body has remained silent about the status of the final Test since WA premier Mark McGowan indicated on Tuesday there would be no exemptions to border rules for players, staff and other officials.

There has already been feverish state-government lobbying from Victoria, NSW and Tasmania.

It is a bitter blow to players and fans in WA, with young gun Cameron Green likely having to wait until 2022-23 to represent Australia at his home deck.

"It's still 50/50, so fingers crossed," Green told reporters in Brisbane.
"It would be disappointing, you always want to play in front of your friends and family."

Earlier this month, McGowan said he was "very confident" the Test would go ahead.

But a political storm about the match ensued, including a tit for tat between McGowan and federal health minister Greg Hunt, and the emergence of the Omicron COVID-19 variant has further complicated matters.

Pakula said on Wednesday the MCG's "claims were undeniable" as an alternative venue.

"The Victorian government has certainly made it clear to Cricket Australia that if the Perth Test is unable to go ahead that we'd be not just prepared to host the fifth Test, but very keen to host the fifth Test," Pakula said. 
"If they can't go to Perth and it's a commercial decision then I think the MCG's claims are pretty close to undeniable."


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