WACA Test dumped from summer cricket program

The WACA Ground might be the venue where Australia enjoys its strongest home-ground advantage but it is also the one most in need of refurbishment, with the smallest capacity of the mainland Test venues.

These factors - not an Indian conspiracy - were behind Cricket Australia's decision to axe Perth from the Test circuit when India tours next summer.

Six years after the WA Cricket Association announced a $250 million redevelopment, which was to include two residential towers and increase the capacity to 30,000, construction has not started.

Building is due to begin after the coming international season on the first stage of the apartment redevelopment, which has been almost halved to make it more commercially viable. The ground's current capacity, when temporary seating is installed, is about 22,000.

India's visit in 2014-15 will comprise only four Tests because of a squeeze created by the 2015 World Cup, which will be staged in Australia for the first time since 1992, and a tri-series involving India and England leading up to the global event.

''The circumstances are very unusual and five doesn't go into four, so if the WACA learns anything from this we have to make sure we're so good we can't be ignored next time,'' said Test legend and WA coach Justin Langer.

But he questioned the wisdom of canning the venue most hostile to the touring team; India was toppled by an innings and 37 runs within three days at the WACA in January 2012.

''The WACA is unique because it has more pace than anywhere in the world and we have a huge home-ground advantage there because of that extra bounce. Particularly with teams like India, we've just gone there and played on extreme turning wickets and lost 4-0. They come to Australia and they're not used to the extra pace and bounce.''

WACA chief executive Christina Matthews said greater commercial returns generated at Adelaide Oval and the Gabba sealed Perth's fate, and estimated the decision would cost the association between $3 million and $5 million.

The Gabba, where Australia has not been beaten for 25 years, has traditionally hosted the first Test of the summer and consistently drawn larger crowds than Perth.

CA chief executive James Sutherland also considered Adelaide Oval's $535 million redevelopment, which will increase its capacity to 50,000 in time for the series.

Channel Nine had previously lobbied for Perth to displace Brisbane as the opening Test of the summer because it can screen in prime time to the eastern states, boosting audiences by 40 per cent, but the governing body was true to its word that the broadcaster's $400 million rights deal would not entitle it to dictate the schedule.

Sutherland dismissed as ''laughable'' a conspiracy theory that the Indian board was behind the decision. ''Visiting countries don't have any say in where we play our home matches.''

The story WACA Test dumped from summer cricket program first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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