Saturday, October 23, 2021

Perth might not be able to host fifth Ashes Test due to Covid restrictions

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Perth, Sep 24 (IANS) There are serious doubts on whether the Optus Stadium in Perth would be able to host the fifth and final match of the Ashes series in January next year as a surging Covid-19 pandemic is seeing border controls being implemented more strictly.

West Australia has taken stringent measures to control Covid-19 and is unlikely to open its borders to New South Wales and Victoria this year and possibly the beginning of next year.

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Mike McKenna, chief executive officer (CEO) of the Optus Stadium — the venue for the fifth Ashes Test from January 14-18 — said that “there’s no way the summer could go ahead as scheduled in the current climate”.

“But I think the COVID situation even now would make you question that scheduling (of the Ashes Test). The direction they’re going in, it’s going to be very difficult for Cricket Australia to try to find a program that’s going to work easily. They’re no doubt thinking about that now,” McKenna told SEN’s Dwayne’s World on Thursday.

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“Right at the moment, it would not be possible to bring a team from New South Wales where they’re playing a Sydney Test to Perth, it just would not happen the way things are going. These things change, I think Cricket Australia is going to spend some time having a look at that.”

While McKenna said that though Perth could be in doubt to host any fixtures, the “Optus Stadium would be happy to help out Cricket Australia if they were forced to move Tests from other venues pending COVID restrictions”.

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“We’re ready to help Cricket Australia should they need to move Tests from other venues. But, who knows what the situation will be here, in Queensland or where South Australia might be by that part of the summer. We’re only hoping that we stay clear of COVID, but at some stage West Australia will have to make some decisions about borders and opening up to COVID. Who knows what that all looks like and when,” he said.

–IANS

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