‘Kick in the guts’: WACA responds to Test schedule
The WACA is far from happy after missing out on a Test match featuring India in the 2020-21 schedule
28 May 2020, 06:56 PM AEST
Being overlooked for the Border-Gavaskar Test series is a "kick in the guts" for Western Australia, says the state's cricket chairman.
WACA chair Tuck Waldron and chief executive Christina Matthews took aim at Cricket Australia's decision to overlook the state's $1.6 billion state-of-the-art Perth Stadium for the Border-Gavaskar series.
Perth Stadium was the venue for Australia's only victory during India's 2-1 series triumph in the 2018-19 summer that saw Virat Kohli's side claim a series win for the first-time on Australian soil.
That series did not include a Test match at the Gabba, while India also balked at playing a day-night game – both things included in this summer's schedule.
Perth is instead scheduled to play host to Australia's inaugural Test match against Afghanistan, a day-night affair to be played from November 21 to mark the summer's opening Test fixture, in an international schedule Cricket Australia will publish on Friday.
"I'm really disappointed in this decision, I think it is the wrong decision," Waldron told reporters in Perth today.
"I just can't understand why they'd make that decision.
"It's a kick in the guts to WA, to all our cricket-loving people and to our WACA members.
"When you've got one of the best stadiums in the world and the second-best cricket venue in the world, the time-slots back to India for TV, etcetera; to me it's a no-brainer."
Matthews, the former Australian women's team wicketkeeper, suggested CA had reneged on assurances the WACA had previously received.
"The biggest issue for us is the (WA) government invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to make Perth Stadium cricket-friendly from the start – all the facilities were built in – and at the time Cricket Australia gave a guarantee to the government that they would absolutely be utilising that stadium to the fullest," Matthews said.
"We have to factor in this could be a $3m or $4m hit to us on membership alone. That's not considered when decisions are made.
"We've been told commercially Brisbane is more viable for Australian cricket and that over an eight-year touring period from 2015 through to 2023, WA has a better schedule to anyone else.
"I'm not privy to what's going to happen in the next three years but they were the key reasons."
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
Matthews said that despite disappointment at missing out on hosting India, the WACA would lay out the red carpet for Afghanistan.
"We have a duty to the cricket fans here, to Afghanistan as a visitor to our state, to ensure we provide the best possible facilities and enjoyment for them as we possibly can," Matthews said.
"Let's not forget, it is a history-making Test – they've never played Test cricket in Australia so once again, Western Australia will be part of history.
"We will continue to demonstrate how well we do those things, but when we see India fly across the top of us to the other side of the country, we might shed a little tear."
Australia's imposing Test record 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.
The Gabba has already been confirmed to host the first Test of next summer's 2021-22 Ashes Series and is undergoing a $35m facelift to upgrade public, corporate and media facilities.
Captains Allan Border, Mark Taylor, Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke, Steve Smith and Tim Paine have all maintained the undefeated run since Australia last lost at the venue to the West Indies in 1988 and the home side has claimed an incredible 24 wins and seven draws in that time.
Paine last summer said of the Brisbane venue: "We can't wait to come to the Gabba, knowing that Australian sides play well and win a lot of Test matches here.
"It's where we traditionally like to start so it feels like the Australian summer when you get together and get out on the Gabba.
"It's a great place for us to play – the wicket suits Australian sides really well so to start here is fantastic and the boys are really looking forward to it."
Afghanistan Cricket Board chief executive Lutfullah Stanikzai said he " hopes that the match is played if the pandemic of COVID-19 is contained by then".
He added: "Australia is a strong side in world cricket. However, our team will also be well prepared. The match will provide a great experience to them. "