CA explains why Perth missed out on an India Test
Kevin Roberts again floats prospect of future Australia-India series comprising of five Tests after Brisbane got the nod over Perth this summer
29 May 2020, 12:20 PM AEST
The absence of a Gabba Test for India's tour of Australia two years ago is behind Cricket Australia's decision to overlook Perth for a marquee Test against Virat Kohli's side this summer.
But Brisbane and Perth may not miss out again if plans come off for all future Test campaigns between the two nations to be extended to five Tests.
On Thursday, WA cricket officials said missing out on hosting a Border-Gavaskar Test this season is "a kick in the guts" for fans in Perth, who will welcome Afghanistan this summer for a one-off Test instead of a high-profile match involving India.
While both cities host an Ashes Test every four years because series against England comprise of five matches, the four-Test campaigns against India mean one of Perth and Brisbane have traditionally missed out.
And after Brisbane was overlooked for India's tour two years ago, CA CEO Kevin Roberts said scheduling a game at the Gabba this season evens the ledger over the course of the International Cricket Council's eight-year cycle from 2015 to 2023.
"If Perth received the India Test (this year) it would mean that Perth would have hosted two England Tests and two India Tests over the eight-year cycle for a total of four ... whereas Brisbane would have only hosted two," Roberts said.
"So that would have created an imbalance over the cycle of the Future Tours Programme.
"And in the national interest and ensuring we take high-profile Test matches to cricket fans in Queensland, it was a more well-balanced solution. Assuming, of course, that we could get full crowds in play, that’s when this schedule was determined.
"The more balanced solution was to play the India Test in Brisbane, meaning over the eight-year cycle it would see Perth hosting three Tests against India and England and Brisbane also hosting three Tests against India and England."
Brisbane was preferred over Perth for India's 2014-15 tour, when Western Australia missed out on a Test altogether.
On Thursday, WACA CEO Christina Matthews said her organisation had been told in 2014 that Perth was overlooked because their main Test venue at the time – the WACA Ground – "wasn't good enough".
Having since moved to the brand-new Perth Stadium, Matthews said she had hoped the switch would mean the city would get a marquee Test every year.
"The last time (in 2014), we were told it was because our venue wasn't good enough and if we supported a new stadium, this would never happen again," she said. "And here we are again.
"All the metrics associated with cricket over the last two years see us surpass Brisbane in every area; whether that’s crowds, broadcast ratings, even better rainfall at that time of year, more corporate seats - just so many indicators - and a brand-new stadium.
"The biggest issue for us is the (WA) government invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to make Perth Stadium cricket-friendly from the start ... and at the time Cricket Australia gave a guarantee to the government that they would absolutely be utilising that stadium to the fullest."
Australia's imposing Test record in Brisbane makes the Gabba a favourite among the players, and it boasts the longest active unbeaten streak in Test cricket at a single venue that stretches back 31 matches to 1988.
Tim Paine gives Virat Kohli a little clip in the post-game presser 🍿 The Aussie captain is keen to play against India in Brisbane next summer! pic.twitter.com/NCmGqua67s— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) November 24, 2019
The Gabba is currently undergoing a $35m facelift to upgrade public, corporate and media facilities.
Roberts added that both Australia and India hope to extend future Border-Gavaskar campaigns to five Tests each, which should mean both Brisbane and Perth get a Test when India tour.
But the CEO was quick to add that adding an extra Test would be complicated given the already cramped international schedule, which is likely to become even more congested due to the rescheduling of matches that have been cancelled during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It's fair to say that both nations share the desire to move to five Test series in the future, but we need to navigate that with respect to everything else in the calendar," he said.