Looking forward to the new WACA

Joel Smith  |  Sunday 21st June 2020

Of all the Test cricket grounds in Australia, the WACA is the most remote of them all and arguably, has some of the greatest stories in its history.

Over the years, Perth’s WACA Ground has seen some incredible feats achieved by Australia and left some opposition wishing it simply had been left off their tour itinerary. We’ll get on to a couple of these stories from the past shortly but, before then, it’s time to look to the future.

In December 2019, exciting plans for a $75 million revamp of the old WACA were announced. Principally funded by the Federal and State Governments, this has been a move welcomed by Cricket Australia and the WACA. The plan is to create a state-of-the-art “boutique-style” ground capable of hosting not just cricket, but Australian football matches too, with a capacity of up to 15,000. Also included in the plans are extensive training facilities that could also be used by teams playing at the 60,000-seat Optus Stadium nearby.

With work due to start later in 2020, this presents the venue with the opportunity to carve a whole new niche for itself. The fact that it will retain ICC accreditation will also mean that Perth will be the only city in Australia with two separate Test cricket grounds.

Naturally, Optus Stadium will continue to host the biggest Test matches against opposition like England, New Zealand, and India. But it’s envisaged that the WACA could be the venue for games against lesser international sides like Sri Lanka and Bangladesh who tend to attract smaller crowds.

This also presents the opportunity to re-create the WACA of old whose fast, bouncy pitch was often the stuff of nightmares for visiting batsmen, yet somehow seemed to suit many Australian batsmen all too well – right up until the time the final Ashes test was played at the ground in December 2017. After all, who can forget Steve Smith’s 239 and Mitchell Marsh’s 181 which helped the home team on their way to a series-clinching win by an innings and 41 runs?

Of course, it’s been a bowler’s paradise too – as Mitchell Johnson found out in the 2008 Test series against a strong South Africa side. In the space of 21 balls, his figures were 5/2 with his overall performance for the innings being a career-best of 8/61.

It’s these kinds of stats that have always made the WACA a favourite for fans who enjoy a bet on a game. So no doubt visitors to sites like Betpal New Zealand will be on the lookout for the sports betting operators who will give them the best odds on some seemingly unlikely outcomes. Better still, it will also lead them to the sport betting sites that offer the best welcome bonuses too.

So, the future is certainly looking good for the venue that first opened in 1890 and whose six iconic floodlights – which are to be retained – have long been a landmark on the Perth skyline. And here’s looking forward to the day when the umpire next announces “Play” heralding the start of a whole new era for the ground.

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