Monday 15 January 2007 

Australia Wants Six Ashes Tests Next Time

Not satisfied with humiliating England 5-0, Australian cricket authorities are now proposing that the next Ashes series they host are played over six tests.

Australia wants to add an extra test to the 2010-11 series after this season's five tests were all sold out.

The additional match would be played in Hobart, along with the traditional venues of Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide.

"Cricket Australia is keen in principal to have six test matches the next time we have an Ashes series in four years," Cricket Australia spokesman Peter Young told reporters on Monday.

"The ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) are aware of our ambition, but discussions are a long way off being finalised."

England coach Duncan Fletcher, who oversaw England's first 5-0 series loss in 86 years, said he was opposed to the idea because of the risks of player burnout.

"Somewhere along the line, we've got to have a break," he told reporters.

"To introduce more cricket is just going to complicate the issue."

Although the majority of Ashes contests have been played over five tests, there have been eight six-match series, the last in 1997 which Australia won 3-2.

Australia's cricketers often play six tests at home each summer, usually split between two opponents, but Young said the plan to add an extra Ashes test was more complicated.

"There are a number of practical issues. Programming international cricket is like trying to place chess in 3D," he said.

"The global cricket calendar is already so busy and for all teams playing cricket here we have to play a reciprocal amount of games back in their home country.

"In principal, we would like to have six test matches the next Ashes series in Australia, but it will be a while before we know."


© Reuters 2007