Cricket Australia (CA) CEO Nick Hockley has revealed that the board is desperate to hold the fifth and final Ashes Test in Perth. Currently, negotiations are underway with the Western Australian government in order to accommodate the players during tough pandemic times.
The Ashes 2021-22 was given the green light after the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) agreed to tour if critical conditions are met. They even named their squad for the tour down under, which confirmed that there won’t be any pullouts from the senior players.
In Western Australia, there are tight rules in place which go against England’s request of avoiding any strict bio-bubbles. Nick Hockley, however, hinted that the discussions are underway, and they will try their best to hold the final Test at the Optus Stadium in Perth.
“We would desperately like to play the fifth Test in Perth, it’s absolutely our intention to do so. Those discussions are going on right as we speak. We are encouraged by the experience we had last summer when we were able to play five BBL matches in January.”
“There’s been a whole winter of experience of playing elite sport at Perth Stadium in biosecure conditions. We have strong relationships and are working through the detail as to what that might look like. It’s really important we are giving both squads, match officials and broadcasters a great experience and their wellbeing is front of mind,” Hockley said.
The environment has changed with people becoming vaccinated – Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley
Australia has improved its vaccination rate over the last few months. The covid-19 cases have skyrocketed in the country, but they are well-equipped to deal with it. Further restrictions could well dent the players’ mental well-being since it will be a long tour, Hockley reckoned.
“The environment has changed with people becoming vaccinated. We’ve really tried to prioritize the well-being of all concerned. A lot of it is about common sense, socially distancing, and keeping safe, but through the course of the summer we would like the ability for our players to enjoy a round of golf, go to the beach, enjoy a meal outside.“
“Last season we played every match without a single case. If there was a case, there are clearly detailed protocols but it’s analyzing the situation on a case-by-case basis, involves isolating the person who has tested positive then working quickly and forensically to work out whether there has been any close contact. That’s why we have a fantastic medical team. Hopefully, it doesn’t come to that,” Hockley assessed.
The Ashes 2021-22 series is set to commence on December 8 at The Gabba, followed by the second Test in Adelaide.