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.