Image courtesy of: Zimbio
The WACA will host the third Ashes Test between Australia and England from December 14-18 this year after it was confirmed that the new stadium being built in Perth would not be ready in time for the highly-anticipated series.
Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland was optimistic about the stadium being finished in time for the match on Monday, but all that changed following a meeting with Western Australia ministers and the stadium management on Tuesday.
“Well I guess it’s good now we have some certainty around where the Perth Test match is going to be played this year as part of the Ashes series,” Sutherland said in Perth. “It’ll be played here at the WACA Ground across the river. We received advice yesterday in meetings with government, [WACA CEO] Christina Matthews, [WACA president] Ken Michael and myself received the news that the new Perth Stadium wouldn’t be ready for the Ashes Test match.
“Coming over here to Perth on this trip, we did know that it needed to be finished ahead of time and everything needed to come together, but it was still disappointing. We were really hoping that the Test match could be played at this magnificent new stadium. Nonetheless there’s lots to look forward to, with tickets to go on sale very shortly.”
While Sutherland said there is a good possibility that the new stadium will be ready in time for an ODI between Australia and England on January 28, 2018, it will not host any Big Bash League (BBL) or Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) matches.
“The meetings we had yesterday led us to believe it is still a very strong chance that the ODI on Sunday the 28th of January next year will be played at the new Perth Stadium,” Sutherland said. “I was very fortunate to have a tour of the new stadium yesterday and it really is exciting to see an absolutely brilliant, state-of-the-art sporting stadium – Perth fans don’t yet know what they have been missing out on.
“At this stage the way the timing works it’s probably unlikely that any of the Big Bash League or Women’s Big Bash League matches will be played at the new stadium. There is a slight chance that if we get to finals time that the final could be played at the new Perth Stadium, and we know West Australians like to think the final’s played in Perth every year, but let’s wait and see with that. It certainly would be wonderful.”
However, even though Sutherland is hopeful of the stadium being ready by January 28, the state government said that it would only be ready in time for an Ed Sheeran concert in early March.
“The idea of an Ashes Test opening the Perth Stadium was only ever a Colin Barnett thought bubble,” Western Australia sport and recreation minister Mick Murray said. “The scheduled opening has always been the start of the 2018 AFL season and that is what we’re working towards
“Hosting the Ashes Test at the new stadium would have been a spectacle, but unfortunately it’s just not possible and the State Government is now working to correct the problems we have inherited. Confirmation of the Ed Sheeran concert in March 2018, just ahead of the first AFL match is a fantastic outcome for Western Australians, and we will continue to investigate the possibility of earlier events.”