Cricket veteran launches fiery attack at Perth premier over harsh biosecurity protocols

Steve O’Keefe hopes BBL defending champions Sydney Sixers are spared a trip to Perth under restrictive biosecurity protocols, quipping he doesn’t like West Australian Premier Mark McGowan.

Cricket Australia (CA) is still trying to broker a deal with McGowan’s government that would allow Perth Scorchers to host BBL matches this season.

Discussions are ongoing, as is the case with the fifth Ashes Test that Tasmania’s government is actively lobbying to be held in Hobart rather than Perth.

CA is hopeful of a breakthrough soon, ideally in the form of exemptions that could allow teams to travel to and play in Perth on a fly-in fly-out basis.

The question of whether seven sides should embrace such rigmarole, when every other state will have open borders throughout most of the BBL season, remains complex.

O’Keefe, who has played every season of the Big Bash and will be a key part of the Sixers’ push for a third straight title, made it clear on Thursday he has little time for McGowan’s hardline stance.

“I do not want to go to Perth. I don’t like Mark McGowan. I hate playing at Optus, we never do well,” O’Keefe stirred.

“I hate that plane flight.

“Maybe we just give Perth the two points, stay at home and enjoy a week at home.

“He doesn’t want us there.”

O’Keefe added he wasn’t complaining, noting border policies were “tough for everyone”.

But the former Test spinner said it would be “amazing” if BBL players and staff, set to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by month’s end, avoided the same restrictions of 2020-21.

“They did really well Perth last year in allowing us in,” he said.