Adelaide is mounting a case to try and steal the New Year’s cricket Test from Sydney, where it has been cursed by wet weather in recent years.
This year’s SCG Test between Australia and South Africa was once again ruined by rain, with day three washed out altogether.
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Six of the last seven SCG Tests have had rain delays and six of the last nine have ended in a draw, prompting calls for the New Year’s Test to be taken off the famous ground.
There have also been calls for the Test to become a pink ball day-night match to ensure nonsensical bad light delays do not occur.
Now South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas has confirmed Adelaide has approached Cricket Australia about poaching the New Year’s Test from Sydney and holding it at the Adelaide Oval.
“All I would say is in South Australia we’ve got an amazing record of people turning out to sporting events,” Malinauskas said.
“I think we had double the crowd at the Adelaide Test than we saw at the Perth Test. We often have bigger crowds than Sydney and that’s despite having a far smaller population.
“South Australians are passionate about their sport. They love their cricket, myself included, so we stand ready to work with Cricket Australia to improve their product to more people around the country.”
Moving the New Year’s Test from Sydney to Adelaide would be a major shake up, given the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne and New Year’s Test in Sydney are arguably the only two matches held at the same time every year.
South Australia has shown it can attract major sporting events — winning a bid for the AFL’s “Gather Round”, where all nine games will be played in Adelaide — and snagging the rights to host Australia first LIV Golf event.
Both the Gather Round and LIV Golf event will be held in April.
A war of words broke out between Malinauskas and NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet at Friday’s National Cabinet meeting.
“A five-day washed out Test in Sydney is much better than a five-day Test in Adelaide because at the end of it you’ve spent five days in Adelaide,” Perrottet sledged.
But the SA Premier smoothly hit back: “We’ve got a pretty good track record of hosting major events in South Australia and it’s something that we’re pretty keen on.
“Obviously we were rapt the AFL chose to have the Gather Round in South Australia over NSW.
“They looked at the evidence and the facts and they decided accordingly. And we hope Cricket Australia might one day do the same.”
In a lighthearted exchange with Mark Beretta on Channel 7’s Sunrise, reporter Rosie Barnett roasted Sydney’s record of wet weather ruining the New Year’s Test like clockwork.
“We are coming for you for, Beretts,” Barnett said.
“It has been reported that Adelaide is looking at snatching away that New Year’s Test from Sydney.
“It really comes as no surprise for us here (in Adelaide).
“Fans love their cricket here and we have the numbers to show it.”
Nearly 87,000 people attended the day-night Test at the Adelaide Oval in December, more than double the turnout at the Perth Test a week earlier.
“One thing unfortunately we would be lacking though, Beretts, is that really impressive statistic you guys have over there of six out of the last seven Tests being interrupted by rain at the SCG,” Barnett joked.
“Sadly, Adelaide doesn’t have that same curse so if we were to secure (the New Year’s Test) we would unfortunately have to buck tradition and play in perfect conditions.
“So we will have to see if we can win the bid despite that.”
In January, SCG Trust Chairman Tony Shepherd said the New Year’s Test was off limits for other states.
“There is absolutely no way the New Year’s match is being moved from the SCG,” Shepherd said
“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.”
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