http://www.theaustralian.com.au/sport/cricket/waca-test-match-faces-axe/story-e6frg7rx-1226710077070WACA Test match faces axe
The Australian September 04, 2013 12:00AM
THE Perth Test has joined the list of endangered species as Cricket Australia considers which mainland venue will not host a traditional match next year.
India is scheduled to play four Tests in the Australian summer that leads up to the World Cup in 2015.
Brisbane and Adelaide were put on notice that they could miss out, but The Australian learnt this week that the Western Australian Cricket Association has been asked to give reasons why the match should be held there.
The move to drop Perth would cause angst with broadcasters and fans in the east as it is the one match of the year where people on can enjoy the last session after work because of the time difference. Perth is also a more attractive broadcast option into India but The Australian has been told it is the venue most likely to miss out.
When the Nine Network negotiated the recent broadcast deal, it pushed heavily to have the first Test of the year played in Perth because it was better for its ratings and that it wanted a say in selection, but this was shot down by CA chief executive James Sutherland.
There were suggestions that Brisbane was the venue that would miss out. That scenario has been complicated by the G20 summit being held there and the venue being inside the designated lockdown area.
The compensation for missing out on a Test would have taken the form of a series of one-day and T20 matches in November against South Africa, but that won't happen in Brisbane because of the restrictions around the government summit.
WACA chief executive Christina Matthews admitted yesterday she was concerned about the prospect of not hosting a Test in the 2014-15 season.
"We've been asked a series of questions about the Test and the potential impacts," she explained. "It is not a formal bidding process as much as an information-gathering process for Cricket Australia across the three states. You don't like to be in this situation, but I am confident we can put things on the table that make it attractive to hold the game in Perth.
"It is no secret that our time zone is favourable but there is more than that and we will put that on the table."
The WACA owns its venue and makes more money from the catering and hosting thanBrisbane, as the Gabba is rented.
Matthews argues that the smaller size of Perth and popularity of cricket in the state means the ground is reasonably full for most of a match.
Cricket Australia and Queensland Cricket refused to comment on the issue yesterday while the South Australian Cricket Association did not return calls.
Scheduling is one of the biggest problems in cricket. The Australian revealed last week that the domestic schedule for this summer had still yet to be released as head office wrestled with locking in a broadcaster for the new Ryobi Cup format, which will be held entirely at suburban grounds in Sydney in October.
Nine's digital channel Gem was supposed to be close to signing a deal for the domestic one-day competition while there had also been talks with Fox Sports. The only published fixture for the domestic summer is for the Big Bash but The Australian understands Cricket Australia was in negotiations with the Ten Network to lop a week off the finals of that competition to allow the Shield to restart earlier.
CA can at least look towards South African cricket and be relieved not to be in its position. Unlike almost everybody else in the game, that body chose not to bow to the wishes of cricket's bully boys in India.
South Africa was told in no uncertain terms by the Indian board not to appoint former ICC chairman Haroon Lorgat to its board but didn't listen and went ahead.
The South Africans have now been punished by India which had steadfastly refused to confirm what had been a three-Test, seven-ODI and two-T20 tour this summer.
Instead the BCCI announced on the weekend that it had invited the West Indies to India in November for two Tests but still refused to agree to the South Africa series, which the local board had announced earlier in the year.