'Very confident': WA premier bullish amid concerns over Perth Ashes Test

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Pictured right, WA premier Mark McGowan and Aussie Test cricket captain Tim Paine on the left.
WA premier Mark McGowan (right) has brushed off concerns about Perth hosting the fifth Ashes Test in January 2022. Pic: Getty

Western Australian premier Mark McGowan has hosed down concerns about Perth's ability to host the fifth Ashes Test in 2022, despite announcing that the state's borders restrictions won't ease until mid-January at the earliest.

On Friday, Mr McGowan revealed details about the state's long-awaited roadmap, saying WA will reopen to domestic and interstate travellers once the state reaches a 90 per cent double vaccination rate.

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An exact date of the reopening will be decided once WA achieves an 80 per cent double vaccination rate for people aged 12 and above, which is expected by mid-December.

McGowan said people should expect the borders to reopen in late January or early February.

The fifth Ashes Test at Optus Stadium is scheduled to start on January 14 - just five days after the fourth Test in Sydney.

Tim Paine is seen here kissing the Ashes urn after Australia retained the trophy in 2019.
Tim Paine's Aussie side is hopiing to retain the Ashes in the five-Test series at home against England. Pic: Getty

Over the past two years, visiting teams from COVID-affected States have been forced to serve seven-day quarantine periods before being allowed to play a game.

England's players and staff expressed their reservations about touring Australia under quarantine restrictions and Covid-19 "bubbles", before eventually reaching an understanding with Cricket Australia and the federal government.

Given England and Australia will be flying into WA from Covid-affected NSW, there are grave fears about whether the fifth Ashes Test will be able to be staged in Perth.

At present, Victoria and NSW are still labelled "extreme risk" zones, meaning anyone from those states entering WA has to undergo 14 days of hotel quarantine.

WA premier confident in Perth hosting Ashes

But the WA premier is optimistic that a deal can be worked out that will ensure the Ashes can go ahead in Perth.

Pictured here, WA Premier Mark McGowan addresses media about the state's road map to reopen its border.
WA Premier Mark McGowan says his state will open up once 90% of those over the age of 12 are double vaccinated. Pic: Getty

"We've conducted sport for the last two years ... all of those things have happened over the course of the last two years subject to rules and bubbles," McGowan said.

"That's something that will be worked on jointly and I'm very confident there'll be a good outcome reached.

"We held the AFL grand final - the best one I think in history - in Western Australia because we were kept safe, and we did it with good COVID rules. I'm sure we'll be able to hold further sporting events."

Adding further complication to the issue is England's reluctance to lose their freedoms on tour.

McGowan was evasive when asked whether he would be relaxing quarantine requirements for visiting teams, but did say that the measures used in the past have been shown to work.

"As I've said repeatedly sport is not my No.1 priority. But if we can do it safely, we will," he said.

CA confirmed on Friday that the planned Test match against Afghanistan, which was set to be played in Hobart on November 27, had been postponed until the situation in Afghanistan became "clearer".

Hobart could host the fifth Ashes Test if the match is taken off Perth.

with AAP

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