Two Tests in Sydney ‘makes sense’, argues Cricket NSW chief Andrew Jones

The scheduling of two Sydney Tests in a summer “makes sense mathematically”, says Cricket NSW chief Andrew Jones, who believes it is feasible for the SCG to host a pink-ball match as well as retaining the new year Test.
Nanjing Night Net

Sydney’s ambition for a second Test is not new, nor is the agitation it provokes in other states, particularly Tasmania which would face losing a match in Hobart in a six-Test summer under such a fixture.

Jones, however, believes the sheer size of Sydney makes staging matches at either end of the home Test calendar a proposal that should be seriously considered.

“I think Sydney is the biggest city in Australia; 25 per cent of Australians live in Sydney so giving them 25 per cent of the content makes sense mathematically,” Jones told ABC Grandstand on Saturday.

“It’s not something you’d do every year, but I think that’s something that would be fair and reasonable given the size and importance of the city and also the size (population) of NSW, which is a third of Australia.”

The Cricket NSW position would no doubt be challenged by those who believe the SCG should not be handed another Test when the ground is not close to capacity on any day of the five-day clash it already hosts.

The crowd for the third Test between Australia and Pakistan was 112,029 for the five days: 30,305 on day one, 25,755 on day two, 23,409 on day three, 14,977 on day four and 17,583 on the last day.

The rain that interrupted the match, most significantly on Thursday and Friday, did the attendance numbers no favours, though, and Sydney is also the victim of its otherwise desirable place on the schedule.

While its Test is staged in the heart of the summer holiday period, the fact it is the last match of the Test season means it has often lately been a dead rubber, Australia having already wrapped up the series. The last “live” Sydney Test was in 2011-12 when the SCG hosted the second match of the four-match series against India.

Officials in Sydney do not want to lose the match in the first week of January but are excited by the prospect of a day-night Test at another point of the summer.

“I can imagine a day-night Test here at the SCG,” Jones said. “My preference would be that would be a second Test or a first Test earlier in the season and keep the new year’s Test as a day Test.

“I think it suits the fans and that is demonstrated by the crowd numbers and also there is a lot of Big Bash on at this time of year. I don’t think there is a need to push it late to allow viewers who can’t come during the day to see some cricket. They can do that via Big Bash.

“I think you’d need a six-Test summer and you’d need a team that can draw earlier in the season, for example, a season like this one where you’ve got South Africa coming out early and Pakistan coming out later. You could easily think of a first day-night Test in Sydney and a sixth day Test in Sydney against the second team.”

Hobart is already set to be left without a Test in 2018-19 – the next six-match season – with officials in Canberra having successfully campaigned to hold a first Test at Manuka Oval against Sri Lanka.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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