Prime Minister Scott Morrison has sided with Hobart in the divisive debate over which city should host the fifth men’s Ashes Test.
Cricket Australia (CA), having confirmed on Monday that the series finale beginning on January 14 will not be staged in Perth, is expected to settle on a replacement ground within a week.
Every state and the ACT have made it clear they want to host the Test, which will be a pink-ball match as per broadcasters’ wishes.
The MCG is likely to represent the most lucrative option for CA, although finding accommodation and other logistical issues will be tricky given there will be some overlap with the Australian Open tennis grand slam.
But Cricket Tasmania, having failed to host a Test since 2016 and never been part of an Ashes series, is making a strong case to the national governing body.
CA risk being accused of favouritism if it gifts two Ashes Tests to one state, underlining part of the attraction of Hobart and Canberra.
Another factor, which Morrison mentioned on Wednesday, is that Bellerive was slated to host last month’s one-off Test between Australia and Afghanistan that was shelved because of the Taliban’s rise to power.
“I’m in the Tassie camp. I think it will be great to see Tasmania share in this Ashes series,” Morrison told reporters.
“The reasons for it not going to Perth are well understood.
“For there to be one in Tassie, I think would be great.
“Particularly as there was the Afghanistan Test, which obviously didn’t proceed for clear reasons.
“I know they’ll put on a great show.
“That’s a matter for Cricket Australia, but a Prime Minister’s allowed to have an opinion.”
Tasmania Premier Peter Gutwein, having publicly pushed the case for his state throughout recent weeks, is expected to offer CA millions of dollars to try to reduce the revenue gap between Bellerive and the MCG.
“CA should not be seduced by the larger states, they should act in the best interests of the country … do the right thing by the game,” Gutwein said.