There are growing calls for the SCG Test to be moved from its traditional New Year’s slot to better suit Sydney’s weather conditions.
This year’s SCG Test has once again been affected by rain. Bad light and showers cut day 1 short by several hours and day 3 was abandoned without a ball being bowled because of constant rain.
Five of the last eight SCG Tests have ended in a draw and the current Test appears headed the same way unless Australia take 14 wickets to claim a miracle win over South Africa.
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The pattern of rain in Sydney in the New Year is becoming impossible to ignore and it’s prompted many to suggest moving the SCG Test to another time in the summer — potentially to early December.
“I think I would have this Test in early December in Sydney, I would make it a pink ball Test to match the pink Test, this has become the pink Test so make it day-night,” sports broadcaster Gerard Whateley said on SEN.
“I would bring the summer to its climax in Adelaide, and I would probably make that a pink ball Test as well.
“This is the problem, it’s well patronised (and) it’s a fixture on the calendar but it’s five times more likely than any other city in this week to be disrupted by rain.
“At what point do we say, ‘Hey, we have the evidence here, it’s not quite the spectacle it should because of the weather’.
“Start at the Gabba … come through Sydney, then go to Perth, Melbourne on Boxing (Day), then bring it to its full fruition in Adelaide.”
Sydney has overtaken Manchester as the city with the most complete days washed out in Tests in Australia.
The harbour city has significantly more annual rainfall than other Australian cities, meaning moving the SCG Test is no guarantee it won’t simply be rained out at a different time of year.
Nonetheless, SCG Trust Chairman said the New Year’s Test is off limits for other states.
“There is absolutely no way the New Year’s match is being moved from the SCG,” Shepherd told Fox Sports News.
“It’s a long tradition, it’s a fantastic tradition. We had 22,000 people waiting for the game to start. That’s how dedicated we are.
“There is absolutely no chance. We’ve had La Nina for the last three years and that hasn’t happened for a long time. That’s made it wetter.
“It’s something we have to live with. We do live with it.”
“I think this is the tradition and we’ve just got to live with the climate,” Shepherd told SEN.
“I had a chat yesterday with (Cricket Australia CEO) Nick Hockley.
“I raised with him a couple of options there and I said, ‘Well look, we could make it a pink ball Test’. And one of our directors suggested, ‘Why don’t we have a pink ball test and sell the balls after the game and put the proceeds into the McGrath Foundation’.
“Or the alternative would be if you had that sort of light issue towards the end of the day, just have a bag of pink balls there, worn ones and substitute them.”
Shepherd said he’d be open to the SCG New Year’s Test being a day-night match.
“I would, absolutely. We could do a day night or just use a pink ball the whole game,” he said.
“I think it would be quite good, I’m sure the McGrath Foundation would love it too with the pink ball at the Pink Test.”
But despite the growing calls to shift the SCG Test somewhere else on the calendar, cricket bosses seem to believe the familiarity with the fixture and the McGrath Foundation Pink Test is something they don’t want to change.
“I think it’s an iconic event on the sporting calendar, people plan their entire holiday’s around it, we saw over 30,000 people come out on day one,” Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley said.
“Particularly now with the Pink Test… There’s so much going on and around the ground, but obviously we all want to see as much cricket as possible.”
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