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The Gabba could miss out on future Test matches to Adelaide and Perth
Landmark Brisbane stadium The Gabba could miss out on being the venue that hosts the first cricket Test of every Australian summer.
As other Australian States invest in new and refurbished stadia, the landmark Brisbane venue risks being left behind without fresh investment, according to Cricket Australia's High Performance Manager Pat Howard.
Despite offering one of the best pitches in world cricket and the Australian team's 25-year unbeaten record there, the Gabba is likely to slip to being the fifth-best Test venue once the new 60,000 seat Perth Stadium opens in 2018.
Coupled with the recent redevelopment of the Adelaide Oval, it is not inconceivable to imagine Brisbane missing out on hosting rights in any future four-Test series.
Major Australian Test cricket venues
Melbourne Cricket Ground (capacity: 100,000)
Perth Stadium (capacity: 60,000) *to be completed in 2018
Adelaide Oval (capacity: 53,500)
Sydney Cricket Ground (capacity: 48,000)
The Gabba (capacity: 42,000)
Bellerive Oval, Hobart (capacity: 20,000)
Indicating increased "competition" between venues and the need for investment in The Gabba to match that of other venues, Howard stated “there has been growth in the stadiums around the country.
“Making sure that Brisbane and Queensland stay competitive in this space is pretty important.
"I think there is a lot of opportunity to deal with it. Not just inside the ground, but outside the ground, the precinct, the accessibility ... (it needs to be) a good stadium comparable with all the other ones around Australia.
"I know those at the Gabba are well and truly across all of those (possibilities) but how they get them going and in what timeframe is obviously always going to be a challenge."
The new Perth Stadium, being constructed in the inner-city suburb of Burswood, will replace the WACA ground as the venue for all international matches against England, South Africa and India and all Big Bash League fixtures.
The move sparked an outcry from West Australian cricket figures - including WACA President Dennis Lillee, who resigned in protest, and one-day international star Nathan Coulter-Nile, who said he "hates" cricket's shift away from traditional grounds in favour of drop-in pitches at multi-use facilities.
The Gabba's last major redevelopment was completed in 2005 and involved the construction of a 24-bay grandstand, bringing the stadium's capacity to 42,000.
As Brisbane seeks to establish its credentials as a ‘world city’, the Queensland Government will not want The Gabba to lose out to venues in other State capitals.
Gabba Venue Manager Blair Conaghan told the ABC that the stadium was about to start a "master planning exercise" which will map out what needs to be spent and where in the coming years.
Conaghan stated “this will take a long-term view of how the venue associates with development in the wider precinct.
"Traditionally the Gabba Test is the first of the summer and I am sure that is a tradition Queensland cricket will want to maintain."
As a result of the previous Queensland Government showing little interest in attracting ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 fixtures to Brisbane, The Gabba only hosted three games during this year’s tournament.
17th September 2015 - SUNCORP STADIUM TECHNOLOGY UPGRADES COULD COST A MERE $15 MILLION
3rd September 2015 - WACA TO LOSE MAJOR INTERNATIONAL GAMES TO NEW PERTH STADIUM
17th February 2015 - QUEENSLAND GOVERNMENT FAILED TO BACK CRICKET WORLD CUP FIXTURES BID
5th February 2015 - PROCESS BEGINS TO APPOINT PERTH STADIUM OPERATOR
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