In case you have missed it, the Sheffield Shield season is drawing to a close with Victoria winning the right to host Western Australia in the final.
Unfortunately for the Victorians, the MCG is not available due to World Cup duties and their attempts to hold the final at an alternate venue has fallen to the requirement that the game be held at a venue suitable for a first class fixture.
In this context one turns to the the Sheffield Shield’s 2014/15 Conditions of Play which state:
The team that finished first on the points table at the conclusion of the preliminary matches shall earn the right to host the final at a suitable first class venue within its state, provided that this venue is acceptable to Cricket Australia. Should the team waive this right, the choice shall be offered to the team that finished second. Otherwise the decision shall be made by Cricket Australia.
That should mean that the Victorians, having not been able to source a qualifying ground within its state (my emphasis added), have waived their rights to host the final and the Western Australian ought to have the right to host the final offered to them.
Instead, Cricket Australia has decided, unilaterally it would seem, to host the final at the Bellerive Oval in Tasmania without first offering the final to the West Australian cricket team to host.
This is an absolute travesty on two counts:
- The playing conditions clearly state that the game should have been offered to West Australia to host; and
- Cricket Australia knew at the start of the summer that there was a three in six chance of this problem, potentially arising, given that Adelaide and Sydney are also hosting World Cup games over the next two weeks, and still they included the playing condition they have now ignored.
The failure to comply with the playing conditions is astonishing. If the Victoria Cricket Association can not host the final, or did not plan to host the final and thus did not prepare a second ground, they have no one to blame but themselves and they should not benefit from Cricket Australia now trying to, seemingly, right this perceived wrong.
This game should be being played in Perth as the playing conditions allows: simple. To play it elsewhere is just another indication of how little importance Cricket Australia places on the traditions of the first class game in this country and the rules it itself has set.
They also failed to follow this rule last year by allowing NSW to host the final outside of NSW.
The greater problem is the inaction by various VIC state governments, aware of this problem, in failing to fund development of an alternate venue along the lines of Allan Border Field/Glenelg/Bankstown in Victoria. It’s not a matter of “preparing” a second ground as it needs to have additional facilities that can’t just be temporarily added. Hopefully the Junction Oval redevelopment ends this problem (in Victoria anyway) once and for all.