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.