Bushfire bash to be moved from rain-hit Sydney
Sydney miserable weather forecast has cost the SCG the Bushfire Bash with the game's biggest names set to be redirected to a new venue tomorrow.
Cricket Australia has become so spooked over the gloomy forecast that Melbourne's Junction Oval last night appeared increasingly likely to win hosting rights over a drenched SCG.
Organisers were locked in intense discussions at Jolimont headquarters as they navigated what quickly emerged as a logistic nightmare.
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Fans had already sold out the SCG with plenty excited for the celebrity component of the double-header.
But Cricket Australia's priority remains the integrity of Saturday night's Big Bash League Grand Final and so to protect both the SCG pitch and the outfield it was decided that the curtain-raiser simply had to go.
The decision will also rescue a charity match that seemed destined to be washed out.
But the fundraiser has also been threatened by the loss of star power, with some players understood to be considering pulling out at the last minute.
While Melbourne was the most likely option, the availability of talent will be a key factor in choosing a new city.
Legends including Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar were due to jet into Sydney from all parts of the world this week.
Local call-ups are now on the cards to replace any stars who can no longer play.
Multiple contingencies were discussed in a night of drama at Jolimont headquarters. TV broadcasters have been pushing for a venue change this week.
The BBL Grand Final will remain at the SCG, with a washout set to giftwrap Sixers the trophy as the home team. There is no reserve day in BBL finals.
But the Bushfire Bash could now follow Sunday's Australia-England women's T20 game on St Kilda Rd.
That match is currently scheduled for 2.10pm, however would likely be brought forward if it acted as a curtain-raiser for the charity match.
The Ricky Ponting-Shane Warne showdown could still be marred by inclement weather, with a 50 per cent chance of showers predicted in Melbourne on Sunday.
However, that is far better than the 95 per cent chance of rain in Sydney on a soggy Sunday.
Broadcasters will already be set up at Junction Oval, given the Aussie women host India (Saturday) and England (Sunday) at the venue in the pre-World Cup tri-series.
It means that Warne's playing return in his home city will likely come down the road from the venue he celebrated his 700th Test wicket at.
Lara is now set to be thrilling fans at the crease instead of signing autographs from the SCG boundary in pouring rain in what would've been a disaster for organisers.
NRL superstar Cameron Smith told CA last week that he would only play if the match was in Melbourne, and was thus never unveiled when Sixers won hosting rights.
But with a reschedule on the cards, the Melbourne Storm champion could yet be parachuted into the squad.