Tasmania has formally launched a campaign to snatch the fifth men’s Ashes Test from Perth, with premier Peter Gutwein drawing on sentiment and sense in his pitch to Cricket Australia.
The series finale between Australia and England is slated to start at Optus Stadium on January 14.
Western Australia’s strict border policy and English players’ reluctance to accept biosecurity restrictions beyond their quarantine stint means the fate of the match remains unclear.
Talks are ongoing between Cricket Australia (CA) and the state, with WA Premier Mark McGowan declaring last week he remained “very confident” a plan could be finalised to ensure the Test proceeds in Perth.
Gutwein, boasting the support of Cricket Tasmania and Test skipper Tim Paine, on Wednesday publicly put forward his argument for a Hobart finale.
“It would be just fantastic to see Tim play at Bellerive as captain of Australia. We’ve been having ongoing discussions with Cricket Tasmania and the CEO of Cricket Australia,” Gutwein told parliament.
“Today I’ll be writing to Cricket Australia to formally put our case for the relocation of the Test match scheduled to commence on the 14th of January in WA.
“Their borders will not be open by then. Tasmania is ready to host that important match … (which) would without doubt be the state’s biggest sporting event that we’ve hosted to date.
“Tasmania has a great history and a proud tradition of representation in the Australian cricket team.”
A packed-out MCG would be a relative financial boon for CA in terms of ticket sales, although part of Cricket Tasmania’s case is believed to be the lower cost of staging a Test in Hobart.
Gutwein’s missive comes as CA chief executive Nick Hockley prepares for a round of International Cricket Council meetings in Dubai.
CA, whose former chairman Earl Eddings was forced to resign partly because of WA Cricket’s angst about doubt clouding its first international game in the COVID-19 era, is desperate for the schedule to remain as is.
Broadcasters are understood to be on the same page, knowing the time difference means the contest will drag into prime time on the east coast.
But the uncertainty is frustrating every party involved, igniting speculation about likely alternate venues.
Bellerive was denied a chance to host its first Test since 2016 because of the postponement of Afghanistan’s one-off Test.
The schedule rejig would give Paine a chance to finally play a Test on his home deck, with the clash to potentially double as a fitting swan song for the veteran who turns 37 next month.
Hobart has hosted 13 men’s Tests but not one of those has involved England.