With just four Tests played over the current Australian summer, ABC Sport commentator Dirk Nannes has questioned why Brisbane was given hosting rights instead of Perth.
The hard-fought series between Australia and India has been played in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, while the new Perth Stadium is going without a Test.
The series is going down to the wire at the Gabba, with Australia seeking a win to clinch the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. India only require a draw.
Nannes said the investment in Perth Stadium and the quality of the cricket played on the ground meant there was a strong argument to play a match in WA ahead of Brisbane.
“They’ve just put a billion dollars into a stadium and put on a great Test match when they’ve had it there,” he said.
Australia’s superb record at the ‘Gabbatoir’ is often raised as a reason to hold a game there, with the hosts having not lost a Test in Brisbane since 1988/89.
“Or do you pick it on your place that puts on the best product?”
Nannes’s comments about the viability of the Brisbane Test came in the wake of low crowd numbers on day four. The crowd capacity had been limited to 10,000 each day due to coronavirus concerns, but the Monday crowd was a fraction of that.
“There’s only 2,200 people who find it entertaining enough to turn up and watch,” Nannes said.
“I just feel like it’s a trend over the years that people aren’t coming to the Brisbane Test in the numbers that you get elsewhere,” he said, pointing out that it was still school holidays in Queensland.
SCG and MCG have the advantage of consistent dates
Fellow commentator Quentin Hull said it was harder for Queenslanders to blank out their diaries for the annual Test, as it wasn’t on a set date.
“Everyone has lower crowds on day four. Aside from Melbourne and Sydney, you aren’t sure when the Test will be played each year,” Hull said.
“Melbourne is always on on Boxing Day. The SCG is always in the New Year.
“This is an event that doesn’t have a set date in the calendar.”
Nannes admitted the Brisbane pitch was of a high standard.
“This is my favourite cricket pitch in the country.
“You need an atmosphere. You need bums on seats in Australia. And the ground is somewhat antiquated.
“I just feel with the amount of investment that has gone into Perth — and you don’t just chase the money — but [also] the quality of cricket Perth has put on in the last few years, they might deserve it.
“This topic generates discussion every year, and it’s always going to be along state lines.”
Both Nannes and Hull agreed they would like to see more Tests played, even if it doesn’t generate the revenue of limited-overs cricket.
In 2019 former Australian batsman Ed Cowan called the Gabba a “concrete bowl”.
“Brisbane is not a great place to watch Test cricket. It’s hot, it’s sweaty, you’re in a concrete bowl,” he said
“There’s nothing great about the Gabba except probably the wicket.”