'Don't believe it': Western Australia hits out over loss of Ashes Test

·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
Western Australia premier Mark McGowan (pictured left) and (pictured right) coach Justin Langer and batter Steve Smith during training.
Western Australia (pictured left premier Mark McGowan) lost the fifth Ashes Test due to the strict virus security protocols. (Getty Images)

Western Australia sports minister Dr Tony Buti has hit out at Cricket Australia (CA) over its tough decision to remove the fifth Test match from Perth ahead of the Ashes.

The state's strict border policy ultimately cost Optus Stadium the series finale, which was scheduled to get underway there on January 14.

In doubt for months, the pin was eventually pulled on Monday when it became clear players and their partners would have to remain in quarantine for the match after leaving Sydney's New Year's Test.

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Similar challenges also surrounded broadcasters and technicians, who would have also been in NSW.

However, Dr Buti claimed he was 'very disappointed' with CA's final call even though he remained adamant border security was a priority.

“There were enough technical people in Western Australia that could’ve helped with the broadcasting of a fifth Test in Perth, plus some of that could also be done by remote control,” Dr Buti told reporters on Monday.

“We don’t believe it was not possible to hold the fifth Test in Perth but not to compromise safety in order for broadcasters to be here.

“Our rules are our rules and we will not compromise that.”

Dr Buti also pointed to the English cricketers and said they appeared opposed to staying in a biosecurity bubble during their time in Sydney, before flying to Perth.

“One of our demands was that the players, while they’re in Sydney, didn’t go out socialising at restaurants and so forth and basically remained in a bubble … I think there was some concern about that from the English players,” Dr Buti added.

South Australia reject Ashes Test swap

WA did ask South Australia and CA to consider swapping the second Test with Adelaide in order to be able to host a Test.

WA Cricket chief executive Christina Matthews said her organisation would lose up to $5 million after Perth was stripped of the Test.

However, this idea of swapping Tests was quickly shut down from South Australia premier Steven Marshall.

“They’ve been trying to nick our cricket Test, well they’re not going to get the second Test, it’s going to be at the very best oval in the entire world and I’m looking forward to it,” Marshall recently said.

“Western Australia made themselves the 12th man, now they’re complaining about not being able to get onto the oval.

“The reality is we are keeping the second Test here in Adelaide.”

A general view of Optus Stadium during the Women's Big Bash League Final.
Optus Stadium (pictured) was stripped of the Ashes fifth Test. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

But, in response to the rejection, Dr Buti said it was an 'appropriate' request to make and that they weren't taking a Test away from SA.

Meanwhile, WA Cricket chief Matthews was hoping for compensation from CA after losing the Test and an estimated $5 million.

"We're talking (a loss of) between three to five million dollars, which is all our members' fees," Matthews said.

"We still get our grant from Cricket Australia for international cricket, but our business model is based on members.

"If there's a financial advantage in allocating that fifth Test to a particular state, we expect to receive some of that financial advantage to compensate for what we've lost.

"I'd hope we'd recover 50 per cent."

with AAP

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