Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews sounded confident of 80,000-plus fans attending the Boxing Day Test, the third Test of the 2021/22 Ashes series, at the Melbourne Cricket Ground at the end of the year. The hope came after the Victoria government announced an easing of lockdown curbs caused by the Covid-19 pandemic in the coming months.
"I want to see 80,000-plus people at the Boxing Day Test on Day One. That is what I want to see. And we are determined to deliver that. It won't be easy, I think selling the tickets will be pretty easy. But we are very confident, very, very confident that we will be able to deliver that," Andrews said during a press conference on Sunday.
If a large number of crowds attend the first day of this year's Boxing Day Test, then it will be the biggest attendance at a sporting event in Australia since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Last year, only 30,000 spectators per day were allowed to attend the Boxing Day Test against India at the MCG.
In June this year, Cricket Australia (CA) announced they would sell tickets of the Ashes to full capacity, barring the MCG, for which ticket sales were capped at 85 percent of capacity, pending government restrictions.
"We continue to work closely with venues and governments across Australia to ensure that events are held safely and greatly appreciate their support. In the event that capacities are reduced due to government restrictions associated with the pandemic, we of course guarantee fans full refunds," CEO Nick Hockley had said at that time.
Meanwhile, Christina Matthews, the CEO of Western Australia Cricket, has not given up on the hope of Optus Stadium in Perth hosting the final Ashes Test. There are still doubts over Perth hosting the final Ashes Test as the state's borders are closed to people coming from Victoria and New South Wales.
"CA have put a plan in place, the government are about to reply to that. And that's when real negotiations start to happen about how much quarantine is needed, what needs to happen in Sydney, and so forth. Whilst things don't look like they are in a position at the moment, we are far enough away that things could change dramatically," Christina was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
The 2021/22 Ashes will start from December 8 in Brisbane. Australia are current holders of the urn.
(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)