NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has laughed off attempts by South Australia to steal the New Year’s Test from its traditional home, declaring a washed-out match in Sydney is still better than having it in Adelaide.
The Sydney Cricket Ground has hosted the first Test on the calendar every year since 1998, but there are calls from some people for the match to be moved away given the increased prevalence of rain in the area in early January.
The past three Tests at the venue have all ended in draws, with no play at all on day three in this year’s match against South Africa.
The last time the New Year’s Test wasn’t played at the SCG was in 1997, although the SCG still hosted a match on January 1, with Pakistan defeating Australia in an ODI.
If Sydney does lose hosting rights, then the Adelaide Oval is ready to pounce, with South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas calling on Cricket Australia to give his state the Test next year.
It’s rumoured that the Adelaide Oval will play host to the West Indies in late January next year, with the ground likely to attract another bumper crowd after years of success with day/night matches.
“There have been rumours floating around that Adelaide, yet again, will have a Test match hosting West Indies in the summer coming up after this one, which will be two years in a row,” Malinauskas told ABC Radio Adelaide.
“I think if those rumours have any substance, it’s pretty outrageous.”
The idea of Sydney losing the match is more complex than just the weather radar, with the SCG Test holding a special place in the community given how much money and awareness it raises for the McGrath Foundation.
It’s why Perrottet blasted suggestions that his state should lose the historic summer spectacle.
“A five-day washed out Test in Sydney is much better than a five-day Test in Adelaide,” he said.
“Because at the end of it, you’ve spent five days in Adelaide.”
Former Test skipper and proud local lad Michael Clarke scoffed at calls for Sydney to lose the New Year’s Test.
“Can’t take Boxing Day from the MCG and you can’t take New Year’s away from the SCG. It’s (an) absolute no-brainer. The day that stops is the day Test cricket is finished in this country,” he said on Big Sports Breakfast.
“Their (Adelaide) Test match is perfect. When they’ve got it under lights, it’s perfect, it’s working so well. Why would they want to change that?”
Cricket NSW chief executive Lee Germon also backed the match to remain in its traditional slot going forward.
“My initial reaction was not believing it,” he said.
“It’s a ridiculous notion that the New Year’s Test should go to Adelaide when it’s so much a part of the culture not only of Australian cricket but also the culture of having the New Year’s Test in Sydney.
“I would argue the Sydney Test holds a special place no matter the weather. Most of the memorable moments over the last decade of Australian cricket have been held at the Sydney Cricket Ground, and we’ve had a number of results.
“The Sydney Test has become synonymous with the McGrath Foundation through the highly successful ‘Pink Test’ initiative. It also drives significant benefits to tourism in Sydney and the state of NSW.
“Scheduling discussions around a summer are always ongoing between stakeholders, but Cricket Australia have not given any indication to Cricket NSW that they are considering a move from tradition.
“Ultimately, we want what is best for Australian cricket and the fans of our sport, but we strongly believe that is not served by moving a longstanding and successful piece of the calendar.”
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