'This is a mistake': Fans react to massive Aussie cricket change

·Sports Reporter
·5-min read
The first Test of the Australian summer will be played in Perth instead of at the Gabba.
Australian cricket fans have had a mixed response to news the Test summer will begin in Perth this year instead if the usual Gabba curtain raiser. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The Australian summer of cricket will get underway in Perth instead of the traditional first Test being held at the Gabba in a change that has proven to be controversial among fans.

Perth missed out on hosting an Ashes Test during the last series due to the state's harsh border restrictions that were still in place at the time, with Tasmania hosting the fifth Test instead.

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The Australian men's team will play a mighty 27 international fixtures this season, starting with matches in Townsville and Cairns against Zimbabwe and New Zealand.

Notably, the Test summer begins in Perth on November 30 against West Indies, before a pink-ball Test in Adelaide from December 8.

Brisbane hosts the first Test against South Africa on December 17, before Melbourne and Sydney hold the traditional Boxing Day and New Years' Tests.

The schedule makes for a shift away from the Gabba hosting the first Test of the summer, but means the first two Tests are beamed into the east coast in prime-time before the Christmas period begins.

Though the change has proven to be controversial among some cricket fans, Cricket Australia Nick Hockley was more focused on the bumper summer of cricket coming up.

"We are hosting a record six touring nations to Australia this season, in addition to the ICC Men's T20 World Cup," CA CEO Nick Hockley said.

"We are delighted that Test cricket is coming back to Perth Stadium for the first Test of the summer versus the West Indies, after almost three years without international cricket.

"And we look forward to hosting South Africa over Boxing Day and New Year for the first time since 2008."

Some fans were nevertheless unhappy, with fans in Adelaide less excited about the prospect of a Test against the West Indies instead of against South Africa.

The figure of 27 matches for the men does not include any T20 World Cup warm-up fixtures, or finals games if the defending champions qualify.

The summer therefore easily tops the previous record of 24 matches in 2014-15, which also included a home World Cup in the one-day format.

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It also comes as part of an extremely busy 12 months for the team, with a four-Test series in India in February and March, an away Ashes next winter, a tour of South Africa and a one-day World Cup in October and November.

The one sticking point of Australia's home summer remains a three-match one-day series against South Africa between January 12 and 17, at a time CA had hoped to have all white-ball stars playing Big Bash.

South Africa have also requested to move the series, but no other window can be found and all ICC ODI Super League fixtures must be completed before April.

Instead, CA have scheduled the games to start earlier to allow BBL matches to follow at night.

Meanwhile, Australia's women play three ODIs and T20s against Pakistan in January, with no Test on the agenda.

Cricket fans will be treated to at least 27 international fixtures this summer as Cricket Australia gears up for a huge few months. (Photo by AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images)
Cricket fans will be treated to at least 27 international fixtures this summer as Cricket Australia gears up for a huge few months. (Photo by AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images)

They will also tour India for five T20s in December, ahead of the short-form World Cup in South Africa in February.

Former New Zealand spin bowling great Daniel Vettori and Victorian Andre Borovec have been confirmed as part of Australia's new-look coaching panel and will begin their roles next month in Sri Lanka.

Their recruitment follows Justin Langer's exit at the end of the summer, with McDonald moving from assistant to take charge of the men's team.

Fellow assistant Jeff Vaughan has also left the group, taking up the top job in Tasmania after a brief stint with the national side.

The other remaining assistant, Michael Divenuto, will stay on as a batting coach.

Vettori, New Zealand's finest-ever spinner, worked with Australia on the white-ball component of the recent Pakistan tour.

But a move into the full-time role marks his most serious involvement with Australian cricket after previously coaching the Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash League.

With AAP

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