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Australia may play in Canberra next April

Brydon Coverdale

March 29, 2012

Comments: 17 | Text size: A | A

Dark clouds envelope Manuka Oval, Cricket Australia Chairman's XI v Indians, Canberra, 1st day, December 19, 2011
Canberrans will be hoping the rain stays away from Manuka Oval next April © Getty Images
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Grounds: Manuka Oval

International cricket could next year be held in Australia in April for the first time since 1877, with the possibility of Canberra hosting the national team for the first time. The Canberra Times has reported that Australia are likely to host New Zealand in two limited-overs matches in the first week of April 2013, as part of the city's centenary celebrations.

Canberra's Manuka Oval has been the venue of two one-day internationals, between South Africa and Zimbabwe in the 1992 World Cup, and between India and Sri Lanka in 2007-08. It is also the site of the annual Prime Minister's XI game, but it is the only state or territory capital yet to host the Australia team in a full international match.

"We're looking at the centenary year as not just a one-off big party, it's about setting the groundwork for longer-term legacies," Andrew Barr, the Australian Capital Territory's sports minister, told the paper. "There certainly was interest from Cricket Australia as a longer-term goal to look at having more international cricket in Canberra and they're seeing the centenary year as a great opportunity.

"This is obviously a big thing for Canberra, we've never had the national team in the national capital so Cricket Australia, the Australian government, the ACT government were all very keen for that to occur and have worked very hard behind the scenes to get us to this point."

Should the plan go ahead, it will be the first occasion international cricket has been held in Australia in April since the second Test of all, which started at the MCG on March 31, 1877. A Cricket Australia spokesman confirmed that CA was keen to hold cricket in Canberra next year as part of the centenary celebrations, but said details were yet to be finalised.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by Masud_BITK on (March 30, 2012, 1:38 GMT)

The wording used in this report looks Canberra and Australia are two different countries. Actually, Canberra is coming up into cricket and population strongly, and this is the only reason, we need to see more cricket in Canberra. Cricket ACT is now supplying quality players to other states for Shield cups and they are taking their names, for example Nathan Lyons and Bradd Haddin. We had few more good players to miss the central contract including Mark Higgs who was the mentor of Lyons. Canberra Centenary is a good prospect to highlight our support and strength in cricket. CA should understand then.

Posted by smudgeon on (March 30, 2012, 0:34 GMT)

I have to agree with comments here about Canberra being in the BBL - a city of 350,000 people, not to mention other cities and towns nearby added to that, and you have a market probably as large as Tassie and not so spread out. Plus, Canberra has a fairly young-ish population, and we all know the kids love this T20 stuff. Maybe it's on the cards for next summer...? I know they were certainly talking about a possible team from Geelong, Newcastle, or Gold Coast...

Posted by smudgeon on (March 30, 2012, 0:08 GMT)

Australia has conditions at any time of year (depending on location) that suit cricket which aren't exploited. I remember the top-end serieses a few years ago which allowed test cricket to be played in what would normally be our winter (I daresay even close to sub-continental conditions - strategically a good move, I think) - i guess the problem is that outside of summer, the country goes football mad and it's hard for any other sports to get a decent look-in. I'd like to see tests get to Canberra eventually, perhaps an ACT or combined "country" team playing domestically too. It'll be interesting which grounds get a run for the World Cup in 2015...

Posted by Meety on (March 29, 2012, 23:30 GMT)

@katandthat3 - Yep that is a surprise, looks smaller, I was going off that List A against the Poms a couple of years ago there & they had it roped back a long way. Bell was bunting 6s everywhere!

Posted by katandthat3 on (March 29, 2012, 20:50 GMT)

It would be good to see more international cricket in Canberra, especially to see the Aussie side play there. Agree with @Meety that NZ would like it there but actually Manuka is as big as the MCG ground-wise without the ropes, just the small stands make it look more boutique. March/April weather is usually very pleasant in Canberra but agree, wouldn't want to leave it too late in April and have to fit it around Easter. Great if ACT could manage a BBL side but see if CA think there is enough commercial interest, it would pull in a fair amount of support from around the region.

Posted by Aussieresurgance on (March 29, 2012, 17:31 GMT)

Mukkit has got it - early April is the go. The rain that ruins the PM's match is freaky for what is a fairly dry town most of the time. I went to Aus A v SA A around 2001-2002 around that time of year (April), and the biggest problem was that it got dark earlier than the players might have liked... are their lights down there now?

Posted by   on (March 29, 2012, 13:59 GMT)

Hope its more frequent. Cant wait to see more of cricket in ACT

Posted by NALINWIJ on (March 29, 2012, 12:41 GMT)

MANUKA OVAL has the most historical scoreboard in AUS and that I believe is the former scoreboard from MCG named after Jack Fingleton.

Posted by MarcAus on (March 29, 2012, 12:40 GMT)

@RandyOZ ..Check your rainfall stats. Canberra is the second driest capital in Australia.

Posted by smudgeon on (March 29, 2012, 11:44 GMT)

i don't see why international cricket couldn't be a regular event in Canberra.

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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