23 September 2019

Canberra’s big moment in cricket has arrived

| Tim Gavel
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The scene is set for Manuka Oval to host cricket’s big event. File Photo

In the history of test cricket, just nine venues have hosted the Australian men’s team on home soil. The test in Canberra will bring that number to ten.

That statistic alone highlights the importance of the inaugural test at Manuka Oval.

Test cricket has a life of its own with a global focus that overshadows domestic sport. The sense of history in the making hasn’t been lost on cricket fans with healthy ticket sales.

I rate this moment up there with the most important in Canberra sport. It won’t necessarily be as visual as the Raiders, Brumbies, Capitals and Cannons victories, but the impact has the potential to be broader on the world stage.

In many respects, it represents a coming of age in ACT sport.

The challenge will be to ensure there is an ongoing legacy. Let’s hope that it is not a one-off event.

ACT Cricket has already started talks with Cricket Australia. The next four years is at the forefront of discussions, with the ACT Government included in negotiations.

One thing that is apparent is the difficulty in scheduling regular men’s test matches in venues such as Canberra and Hobart.

ACT Cricket CEO James Allsopp paid tribute to previous chief executives such as Mark Vergano and Cameron French for the work done to secure the test. Allsopp is optimistic that International Cricket now has a permanent home in Canberra. There’s also a likelihood of more T20 and One Day Cricket in the foreseeable future at Manuka.

There is the possibility of hosting a women’s Ashes test in 2021, but those discussions are preliminary at this stage. The Australian women’s team has, in the past, expressed a desire to play in the ACT. They are buoyed by the support the team receives in Canberra.

James Allsopp has a straightforward philosophy. He wants the best players to come to Canberra. This week’s test gives strength to that vision.

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Good stuff Tim – perhaps this should have been included:
Scheduled for 01-05 Feb 2019, with play commencing at 10:30 AM local time.

I am sort of planning going on day 3, but have discovered I cannot get all the way home on the bus. Don’t they get it that test match cricket involves on sitting out in the sun drinking beer all day and how one needs a safe way to get home?

Capital Retro6:29 pm 28 Jan 19

I don’t share your enthusiasm Tim. The “ongoing legacy” will benefit a few people and cricket enthusiasts only.

If you could convince me that every Canberran would “share the wealth” we are led to believe it will generate I could change my mind.

While not disagreeing completely, if you extend that logic to everything, then would we as a society ever do almost any activity?

Capital Retro8:28 pm 29 Jan 19

It’s OK to do these grandiose things if there is money to pay for them and they are value for money. The money is being borrowed and massive subsidies are being paid.

Meanwhile, essential services that are more important to our society are being ignored and underfunded but if people would rather drink beer all day that is their choice.

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