Perth still in the dark about BBL games

·2-min read

Cricket Australia has locked in ticket on-sale dates for BBL matches outside Western Australia, raising further doubt about the prospect of games being staged in Perth.

CA is desperate for this summer's men's Ashes to finish at Optus Stadium as planned, delivering Perth its first international cricket match of the COVID-19 era.

But the BBL, beginning December 5, looms as a more pressing and complicated struggle for a governing body attempting to shepherd players, officials and broadcast staff around the country.

The Scorchers are slated to host clashes in Perth on December 8, 11, 20, 26 and 30, as well as January 5 and 6.

BBL organisers are putting tickets on sale for home games of seven of eight teams during the coming week, with Perth the notable exception.

"Work is ongoing with the Perth Scorchers, WA Cricket, Cricket Australia and the Western Australia government to understand the biosecurity and safety requirements for matches to be played at Optus Stadium," CA said in a statement.

"The league is committed to taking a full quota of Scorchers home games to Perth if permitted and will make further announcements shortly."

NSW has already given the green light for the SCG to be at 100 per cent capacity, while WA is not opening its borders until late January at the earliest.

WA premier Mark McGowan said last week he remained "very confident" a plan could be finalised to ensure the fifth Test, beginning on January 14, remains in Perth.

Those logistical discussions involve two teams and a series finale, whereas the BBL is returning to a 'normal' home-and-away season.

The Scorchers could hypothetically host Brisbane Heat, Hobart Hurricanes and Adelaide Strikers in the opening phase of the Twenty20 competition, if those teams fly directly from their home states and continue to enjoy quarantine-free travel to WA.

But that would require unpicking the current schedule, which seems highly unlikely given fans will soon start snapping up tickets.

Perth hosted recent WBBL matches, but that was only possible because teams arrived after a stint in the 'clean' state of Tasmania.

WA Cricket chief executive Christina Matthews flagged a fortnight ago that Perth may be forced on the road for the entire BBL season.

"That is worst-case scenario at this moment, we just have to wait and see," Matthews said.

Uncertainty over the Perth Test has angered WA Cricket, whose angst last month proved the catalyst for CA chairman Earl Eddings' resignation.

The fact every BBL player has had at least their first COVID-19 vaccine jab should help biosecurity discussions, but CA is ultimately at the whim of WA.

"It is fantastic to see state borders opening ... for the BBL, that means pressing on with the full home-and-away schedule we originally announced in July," BBL boss Alistair Dobson said in a statement.

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