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Hobart could host next pink-ball fixture

Cricket

Hobart could be on the verge of hosting its last red-ball Test as Cricket Australia responds to the likelihood of dismal crowds at the opening match of the series between Australia and the West Indies.

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Just over 15,000 people are expected to walk though the gates at Blundstone Arena over the first four days of the first Test starting on Thursday with an under-strength Windies failing to excite cricket-loving Tasmanians.

Hobart have only hosted 11 Tests since their first against Sri Lanka in 1989.

Speculation mounts that Canberra could host a Test next summer, while after the success of the recent inaugural day-night Test between Australia and New Zealand in Adelaide that translated to a crowd total of 120,000 and bumper TV ratings, CA might look to shift Hobart to a pink-ball fixture.

“It’s not flash,” CA’s head of marketing Ben Amarfio told Sky Sports Radio on Wednesday.

“If you look back over all the years and the Tests that have been played in Hobart are about 21,000.

“If we were to play any more Tests, regardless of whether we play them in Canberra or Hobart … in non-school holiday time we’ve got to be serious about it.

“They’ve got to be day-nighters so people can watch from a TV and crowd perspective.”

While Cricket Tasmania administrators believe the crowd figure could swell to 22,000 at the venue’s first Test since 2012, Canberra’s Manuka Oval continues to attract big crowds.

“We’ve played a fair bit of international cricket in Canberra over the past few years and the great thing about the Canberra crowd is that they are very supportive,” said Amarfio.

“They fill the grounds whether it be a PM’s match or it’s been Afghanistan vs Bangladesh (during this year’s World Cup), I think we had 13,000 at that.”

Amarfio also revealed the Hobart or Canberra match wasn’t the only one likely to be turned into a pink-ball fixture.

“Personally, I don’t think one (day-night Test venue) is enough,” he said.

“Adelaide would be pretty keen for it to be a day-night Test from now on. It would be hard to go backwards from here.

“I think Brisbane is something that we have to seriously consider as a day-nighter.”

Amarfio added that Melbourne and Sydney would remain as traditional day Tests due to their timing in the holiday period and ability to attract bumper crowds, while Perth’s time zone that naturally translates to solid TV audiences in the eastern states means it won’t become a day-night Test venue.

– AAP

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