WA Sports Minister Tony Buti’s cricket gaffe brings more confusion over Perth’s hopes to stage Ashes Test

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Peter LawThe West Australian
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Sport and Recreation Minister Tony Buti.
Camera IconSport and Recreation Minister Tony Buti. Credit: Michael Wilson/The West Australian

WA Sports Minister Tony Buti has wrongly claimed there was no Test cricket played in the Eastern States last summer as he held out hope Perth may still host the Ashes.

The gaffe is the latest twist in a week of confusion about whether the fifth Test will be staged at Optus Stadium from January 14, just a week before the series gets underway in Brisbane.

Mr Buti said negotiations were still ongoing with Cricket Australia but wouldn’t confirm the teams would only have to serve five days quarantine before they take to the field in Perth.

“When the Premier mentioned 14 days some people in the media obviously didn’t do their research. He was talking about 14 days quarantine in Australia, he didn’t say 14 days quarantine between the fourth and the fifth Test. That was the problem that some of the media jumped on. Let’s just wait,” he said.

“We are in negotiations, we are doing our best and we hope to still have the fifth Test in Perth, but I will repeat that we will not compromise on the safety of West Australians.”

Mr Buti then said WA had enjoyed two years of almost uninterrupted community sport and then mistakenly claimed no international cricket was played on the east coast last summer.

“Was there any summer Test matches over east last summer? No, there was no international teams last summer so let’s not overblow this,” he said.

“Of course it would be a blow for this year if we didn’t have the Ashes here but we just had the Scorchers win on the weekend in a game that was played at the WACA, we are still having domestic competitions. People who want to criticise ... do forget that we have had two years of community sport basically uninterrupted.”

In actual fact, Australia hosted India in a four Test series last December and January, with matches in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

It was Perth that did not host a Test last summer. And the Perth Scorchers women’s team also won the BBL final at Optus Stadium, not the WACA.

Later, Mark McGowan said it was up to Cricket Australia to decide whether the quarantine conditions proposed by WA health authorities was acceptable.

As reported by The West Australian, it’s proposed that at the conclusion of the Test in Sydney the teams then serve five days quarantine in Perth before being allowed to play at Optus Stadium.

However, they must serve the full 14 days quarantine before being permitted to wander the streets of Perth, such as to visit a cafe or go to the beach.

“Within that quarantine period they can play within what’s termed a bubble. That’s the arrangement we’ve told cricket. It’s up to them whether they want to accept it,” the Premier said.

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