After the three-match ODI series between South Africa and England was abandoned last week due to a COVID-19 outbreak in their bio-secure bubble in Cape Town, the Proteas’ home series against Australia is now under threat.
According to the World Test Championship schedule, the Aussies are to tour South Africa between February 14 and March 13 next year. Additionally, the fate of South Africa’s home two-match Test series against Sri Lanka over the Christmas/New Year period also remains uncertain.
But as per media reports, Cricket South Africa (CSA) and Cricket Australia (CA) are contemplating moving their entire series to Perth. It is understood that Western Australia would not only offer similar bounce and pace as South African soil, but the timings also won’t be a problem for South African fans back home.
Because Australia and South Africa are separated just by the Indian Ocean, a day-night Test at the WACA Ground, for instance, would likely commence between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. in South Africa. Notably, the broadcast rights and revenue would be CSA’s, meaning Fox Cricket would telecast the matches in Australia.
Afghanistan were scheduled to play a one-off Test match against Australia in Perth before the ongoing pandemic sent the entire cricket calendar into a tizzy.
If the series against South Africa stays an away one for Tim Paine’s side, Perth will spend an entire season without international cricket for the first time since the 1970s.
WACA chief executive Christina Matthews had expressed surprise in May upon the announcement of the summer schedule, saying that Cricket Australia failed to keep the promise of using the newly-built Perth Stadium to the fullest.
“We’ve been a little bit bemused and disappointed how we haven’t been scheduled for one of the prime series in the cricket calendar…The government invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to make Perth Stadium cricket-friendly from the start, so all the facilities for cricket were built into that, and at the time Cricket Australia gave a guarantee to the government that they would absolutely be utilising that stadium to its fullest,” she had said.
For now, the Perth Stadium would have to make do with hosting matches of the 10th edition of the Big Bash League starting Thursday (December 10).