Gabba snub for World Cup
The Gabba is overlooked for all finals matches for the 2015 cricket World Cup but will have "three fantastic games" featuring Bangladesh, Ireland, Zimbabwe, Australia and Pakistan.PT0M42S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2qxzk 620 349 July 31, 2013
The Gabba may have missed a World Cup final in 2015 but Queensland Cricket has vowed to fight tooth and nail to ensure the venue isn't deprived of a Test match in 2014.
A summer without a Test in Brisbane, the traditional starting point for any touring side, would feel like a pub without beer for local fans but that's the dawning reality as competition for marquee games soars to new levels.
The Gabba came off second best when the World Cup draw was announced on Tuesday morning, with the Queensland Government's efforts not enough to secure a quarter-final of the tournament.
Brisbane's Gabba could remain empty next summer, with a possible absense of international cricket at the venue. Photo: Getty
The final will be played at the MCG, with semi-finals in Sydney and Auckland and quarters in Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne and Wellington.
Brisbane will play host to an Australian game, though, as the home side takes on Bangladesh. Other matches will feature Ireland taking on a qualifier and Pakistan play Zimbabwe
The draw was met with lukewarm interest from fans on social media but that discontent would swell dramatically if Cricket Australia failed to schedule a Test match for the Gabba in the 2014 summer.
The touring Indians will play four Tests against Australia, two of which are certain to be in Sydney and Melbourne. That leaves two Tests to be split between Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane.
Broadcaster Nine will push strongly for Perth to ensure prime time exposure on the eastern seaboard and South Australia has spent more than $500 million on the Adelaide Oval redevelopment, expanding its capacity to beyond 50,000.
This leaves the Gabba scrapping for some decent international action but the acting CEO of Queensland Cricket, Richard Powell, said the commercial aspects were only one part of the equation.
Powell said he hoped potential results were taken into consideration given Australia's stunning record in Brisbane, which has become a fortress over the past two decades.
"Having a new stadium is obviously an advantage. The thing we have in our advantage is we have the best pitch in Australia. Adelaide has a drop-in pitch, it's untested and if you ask any cricketer who plays for Australia or anyone who plays Shield cricket, they'll say that the Gabba has the best pitch," Powell said.
"That is our big competitive advantage."
The last time Australia lost a Test in Brisbane was against the mighty of the West Indies in 1988. The last three summers have provided draws with England and South Africa and a nine-wicket victory of New Zealand.
And at the moment, the Australians need all the help they can get.
"That's a consideration when they determine where the allocation of Test matches can be. But there has to be one. At the end of the day, we're in the business of winning Test matches. And Australia has a huge reputation at the Gabba of doing just that," Powell said.
"All we know is that there are only four Test matches. Cricket Australia will make allocations of Test matches later in the year. We're in the bid to make sure we get a Test match for Queensland."
But Nine's clout in scheduling and South Australia's vast investment in its new facility puts Queensland firmly up against it to retain what has been a highly anticipated fixture on the Queensland calendar.
Adelaide remains a well-patronised Test and crowds are likely to increase given the quality of the new venue. Powell said Queensland fans needed to vote with their feet if they wanted to see red-ball cricket.
"It's competitive. I won't deny that. Decisions will be made on commercial outcomes, the broadcasters desire, also the fans. You have to remember Queensland has 21 per cent of Australia's population. South Australia has 8 per cent," Powell said.
"If Queensland cricket fans vote with their feet, it gives us a huge advantage.
"If you appreciate that the South Australian government has pumped $1 billion into a new stadium, there is an expectation they will get something. But that's not the sole decision-making criteria."
Powell said Brisbane would likely get an international T20 or an increased share of ODI cricket if it was stripped of a Test against India. But that is unlikely to appease fans who cherish the Gabba Test and the anticipation that goes with the first ball of a new summer.
There has been some talk of a mini-tour from another nation to ensure cities like Brisbane and Hobart get a Test but Powell said he believed that was an unlikely outcome.