The Australian public might find it hard to accept the return of Test cricket to Perth in December, after the city welcomed its first Test series in seven years when the West Indies arrived for the two-match series starting December 10th.
The waiting public is expected to be more excited about the return of Justin Langer’s side for their home series against India starting 4th December- the first cricket to be held in the city since 2014. It is the first time the city has seen Test cricket since the recently revamped Subiaco Oval hosted its final game in January 2000.
It looks likely that the West Indies will be underdogs heading into the series against Australia, a far cry from the last clash between the two teams when the West Indies were victorious earlier this year in the Caribbean.
That victory marked a rare moment of success for the West Indies, as they are uncustomarily languishing near the bottom of the International Cricket Council’s Test rankings. The two-match series against Australia will be a chance for the West Indies to prove that their victory was no fluke.
Cricket Australia will also likely be hard at work to ensure a successful turnout for the series, especially after the poor attendance at the recent Sheffield Shield match in Perth. It is notoriously difficult to make Test cricket a successful draw in Perth, with the city’s hot summers driving away potential spectators – a problem that may be partially solved thanks to the newly air-conditioned Subiaco Oval.
Cricket Australia will have to employ a considered approach in engaging local fans if it wants the Test series to be profitable. It is yet to be seen if the public will be willing to accept the return of Test cricket to Perth, and if they can be convinced to show their support through the turnstiles.
Australia’s Test Return to Perth Likely to Prove a Tough Sell
As Australia prepares to host its first Test match in Perth in 14 years, the concept of reviving the city’s cricket scene is likely to prove a tough sell. The last Test held in the city was in December 2005, when Australia overcame a first-innings deficit to beat South Africa by 189 runs.
Factors Affecting Test Return to Perth
The reasons for the tough sell include:
- The two sides scheduled to play in Perth for the upcoming Test – Australia and Pakistan – are not the most popular teams in the region.
- The stadiums that hosted the last Test in Perth – the WACA and the Subiaco Oval – have since been replaced by the Optus Stadium, a multi-purpose venue that is not as well suited for cricket.
- The Optus Stadium has not hosted any Test matches so far, so there’s no existing fan base for hosting a Test match.
- Due to the global pandemic, travel restrictions have meant that Pakistani fans and other cricket-loving tourists are unable to travel to Perth to be part of the experience.
New Strategies to Draw Crowds to the Optus Stadium
In order to draw crowds to the upcoming Test, the Australian cricket board is exploring new strategies, including:
- Offering discounted tickets to school groups and local cricket clubs to make the event more accessible.
- Media campaigns, including television adverts and social media promotion, to create awareness in the local community.
- Partnerships with local cafes and pubs to encourage participation.
- More public engagements with the Australian team such as player meet-and-greets, autograph sessions and other activities.
It will be interesting to see how these strategies will help to draw crowds to the Optus Stadium for the Test match. Whatever the outcome, the Test return to Perth is sure to be an exciting event in the cricket calendar.