South Australia has reportedly made an audacious bid to snatch the New Year’s Test from the grasp of Sydney and move it to the Adelaide Oval.
Inclement weather has proven to be a frustrating hindrance for the Sydney Test for several years, but frustration reached boiling point during South Africa’s tour of Australia this year.
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The first two days of play at the Sydney Cricket Ground were briefly halted due to weather delays, before the entire third day was washed out due to the constant downpour.
Such has been the influence of bad weather on the New Year’s Test, ABC meteorologist Thomas Saunders estimated rain has affected Test cricket a staggering 64 per cent of the time in the last eight years in Sydney.
With the negative discourse from fans and some cricket analysts alike, it’s led to South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas and the South Australian Cricket Association (SACA) to float the idea of snatching the New Year’s Test and hosting it in Adelaide, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
However, former Australian captain Michael Clarke, a proud New South Welshman, was less than impressed with the proposal.
“Not happening,” Clarke declared on Big Sports Breakfast.
“Can’t take Boxing Day from the MCG and you can’t take New Year’s away from the SCG, (an) absolute no-brainer. The day that stops is the day Test cricket is finished in this country.
“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?”
One of the driving factors behind Malinauskas and the SACA’s approach centres around the strong turnouts at the Adelaide Oval, no matter the opponent.
During Australia’s two Tests against the West Indies to kick off the summer of cricket last year, just over 86,000 fans packed into the Adelaide Oval compared to 42,723 who attended the Perth Test.
As it stands, Adelaide will once again play host to an Australian Test match against the West Indies, with the report claiming it will take place on the Australia Day weekend next year.
“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.
“We’re happy to support any proposition that stacks up and derives a better outcome for the state’s economy.
“Obviously our major events policies [are] already yielding dividends in that regard.”
Securing the New Year’s Test wouldn’t be the first time Malinauskas has made a big splash in the Australian sporting landscape after producing the winning bid to host the AFL’s ‘Gather Round’, where every team plays in Adelaide for one round, similar to the NRL’s Magic Round.
“The Pink Test in Sydney in the first week of the New Year is as much a part of Australian cricket, and indeed Australian culture, as the Boxing Day Test is for Melbourne,” Cricket NSW chief executive Lee Germon said.
“Some of the greatest moments in Test history have been played at the Sydney Cricket Ground in that first week of January and we see absolutely no reason to break with tradition and custom.
“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 long standing and successful piece of the calendar.”
Originally published as ‘Not happening’: Michael Clarke slams South Australia’s shock bid to snatch New Year’s Test from Sydney