The WACA Ground in Perth, Australia, is set to be scrapped as an Ashes venue, as plan is unveiled by the Western Australia Cricket Association (WACA).
Under the proposals, international matches between Australia and England will be moved to the new 60,000-capacity Perth Stadium, which is being built across the Swan River.
Work began on the new stadium late last year but is not due for completion until shortly after England’s Ashes tour in the winter of 2017-18. England are therefore likely to play one last Test at the historic venue, although the WACA Ground did miss out on hosting Test cricket last winter following concern over its outdated facilities.
That prompted a WACA review into the future of the ground, culminating in the release of its “Vision 2030 report” on Thursday.
The WACA board has already approved the plans in the report, although the long-serving president – and former Australia fast bowler – Dennis Lillee resigned his post earlier this week.
As part of the redevelopment scheme, which will take up to 10-years to complete, the WACA will downsize its existing ground into a “boutique” venue with a capacity of 10,000-15,000 spectators. All international matches against South Africa and India, as well as England, are to be moved to the new stadium, along with Big Bash League fixtures. The WACA Ground will continue to hosts internationals against other nations, as well as Sheffield Shield fixtures.
WACA Chairman, Sam Gannon, said:
To do nothing was not an option. We now have the opportunity to showcase the best of world and domestic cricket at two modern stadiums, providing players and spectators with facilities expected for modern sport.
Drop-in pitches are set to be used at the new stadium – which will primarily house Perth’s two Australian rules football clubs – which has created some concern that Perth’s unique pitches will be lost to Ashes contests.
The WACA Chief Executive, Christina Matthews, said there were plans to try to replicate those wickets in the drop-in pitches, but did admit the resignation of Lillee – who particularly enjoyed the WACA conditions during his stellar career – after 11 years in his post was a shock.
Image: The new 60,000-capacity Perth Stadium.