Rising summer temps put Boxing Day Test future in doubt


Australia's cricket board will look to finalise a "sustainability strategy" after a new report warned the Boxing Day Test may need to be shifted.

Rising temperatures brought by climate change is risking players' safety and could lead to major disruptions to summer playing schedules.

A report released by the Australian Conservation Foundation, citing analysis from the Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub, put the onus on Cricket Australia to act on the findings.

The shade was the place to be on day one at the MCG.
The shade was the place to be on day one at the MCG.

A hot, dry summer has already seen a Big Bash League match in Canberra abandoned midway through due to hazardous smoke from bushfires raging across eastern Australia and a number of amateur-level and youth games have also been called off due to health concerns.

"Despite the extensive heat management resources available to professional teams, continuing to play the Boxing Day Test in its current format at the end of December will expose players and fans to unprecedented levels of extreme heat,'' the report said.

"If no effective climate mitigation action is taken, consideration should be given to moving the Melbourne Test to the shoulder season."

Consideration should be given to move the MCG Test to either November or March, the report states.

Climate change is affecting cricket here and now," ACF campaigns director Paul Sinclair said.

"Already this season we've seen New South Wales and Queensland players competing at an SCG blanketed in hazardous bushfire smoke and a Perth Test impacted by extreme heat.

"All the science warns climate conditions are going to worsen further - unless strong action is taken to cut climate pollution from the burning of coal, oil and gas.

"Cricket depends on the weather like few other sports, with changes in rainfall and temperature affecting the movement of the ball and the condition of the pitch, often turning matches.

"But cricketing authorities are yet to champion the national and international action needed to combat the root causes of climate change.

"Cricket Australia's 2017-2022 strategy report and its 2018-19 annual report make no mention of climate change, environmental responsibility, the considerable air travel associated with the elite level of the game, or any attempts to improve the energy efficiency of cricketing premises.

"Cricket Australia's major sponsor Alinta Energy and its parent company produce 11.3 million tonnes of climate pollution in Australia each year.

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"Cricketers from grassroots clubs across the country to those in the national squad need Cricket Australia to speak up for climate solutions that match the scale of the problem facing the game we love."

Cricket Australia said it acknowledged "a more holistic approach to sustainability" was required to "lessen the impact of climate change on the natural environment".

Wide brim hats are the go.
Wide brim hats are the go.

"We acknowledge we have a role to play and our executive team are currently in the process of proactively developing a strategy for sustainability," Karina Keisler, CA's communications and stakeholder engagement chief said via a statement.

"The strategy is in the early stages of development and significant progress will be made to bring this to life in 2020."

Temperatures on day two of the Boxing Day Test only reached a high of 23C, but day five on Monday is forecast to hit 41C.

It comes after the two teams played the opening Test in scorching Perth temperatures which saw three consecutive days of 40C-plus weather.

- with AAP