Swanky new Perth Stadium keen to poach Boxing Day or New Year Test

Perth (Australia) (AFP) –


The boss of Perth's swanky new stadium, which hosts its maiden Test this week, wants it to be used for a Boxing Day or New Year's Test, traditionally played in Melbourne and Sydney.

Mike McKenna said he was keen to raise the issue with Cricket Australia.

The governing body's contract with the Melbourne Cricket Ground expires at the end of this summer and their deal with the Sydney Cricket Ground runs out in 2022.

"I know that Cricket Australia will be looking to have those conversations and I dare say they will have the first conversation with the MCG but if the opportunity comes to talk to us, we would be very keen to have those conversations," McKenna told Fairfax newspapers Thursday.

"We are always talking behind the scenes. We had a very good conversation with Cricket Australia and we know what the timings are and what the opportunities are.

"I think the Boxing Day Test match, New Year's Test match, iconic events like that, if they were to become available, the government over here would be very keen to look at them, for sure."

Fairfax said Cricket Australia had no immediate intentions of changing its "venue hire agreement" with the MCG and the SCG, but had also made clear that financial returns from Tests were paramount.

The state-of-the-art 60,000-capacity Perth Stadium, also known as Optus Stadium, opened in January this year and has since been used to host Australian Rules football games.

- Fast and bouncy -

It is the third largest sports ground in Australia and home to the Perth Scorchers Big Bash League (BBL) team.

England and South Africa played one-day internationals at the venue this year, but it has yet to host a Test. Five-day games were previously played at the venerable WACA Ground, across the Swan River.

That ramshackle venue held its 44th and last Test a year ago, when England were in town.

Come Friday, new Aus$1.6 billion (US$1.15 billion) stadium will be in the spotlight when Australia look to level their four-match series with India after crashing in Adelaide by 31 runs.

Like the WACA, a fast and bouncy deck is expected to confront the teams.

"I'm really fascinated and can't wait to see what the wicket brings," Australia coach Justin Langer told reporters. "If we can get (WACA-style pace and bounce) it'd be a great thing for Test cricket."

So far only four cricket games have been held there, with the home side ominously losing all of them.

The Perth Scorchers were hammered by 71 runs in a BBL semi-final against the Hobart Hurricanes earlier this year, and both England and South Africa beat Australia in one-dayers at the venue.

Western Australia then lost to New South Wales in a domestic four-day clash last month.

Test opener Marcus Harris, a Perth native, has never played at the ground but denied that the home team losing all four games was a bad omen.

"No I don't think it is a hoodoo at all," he told reporters. "I wasn't aware of it (those results) so I'm not too worried about it."