Caught behind: Climate change, extreme heat and the Boxing Day Test

Commissioned by the Australian Conservation Foundation, this report examines the impact that climate change and extreme heat are having on the Boxing Day Test.

Bringing together sports, health and climate research, Caught behind: Climate change, extreme heat and the Boxing Day Test found that Australian cricket is already experiencing the impact of climate change and extreme heat which are increasing the risk of heat stress to players and increasing the likelihood of match disruptions.

The research also found that under current emissions scenarios, the number of extreme heat days in Melbourne during December is expected to increase significantly over the next 40–60 years. Based on these findings, researchers determined that if no effective climate mitigation action is taken, consideration should be given to moving the Boxing Day Test to the shoulder months of November or March.

Speaking to the Today show following the release of the report, and as reported by Nine's Wide World of Sports, former Australian test captain Ian Chappell has called on sporting bodies to do more to protect the  game from the impacts of climate change.

"When it does affect something like cricket which is a sport that brings all Australians together... I think that helps to make a difference."

"I think that [the 2019/20 Black Summer bushfire season] has brought it home to a lot more people that we're having extreme weather events and they're happening more often," Chappell said.

Following the considerable media attention the report garnered,  governing body Cricket Australia said it acknowledged “a more holistic approach to sustainability” was required to “lessen the impact of climate change on the natural environment.”

“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 in a statement on Friday. The full report from Reuters can be read here.