The Australian summer is here and for many across the nation this means cricket season is well underway.
Whether you’re a beginner, a pro or more of a spectator, the sport has never been stronger in the nation’s capital. We caught up with Cameron French, CEO of Cricket ACT to learn more about what impact cricket is having on our city and what we should be looking forward to in the coming year.
“We are fortunate that the elite cricket facilities in Canberra are top class,” said Cameron “developments at Manuka Oval and the construction of the High Performance Centre at Phillip has put the city on the world stage, and we’re incredibly proud to be hosting international games. The jewel in the crown will be our first Test Match is scheduled for the 2018–19 season right here at Manuka Oval.”
“What’s great is that people can go to watch their cricketing idols right on their doorstep, and then be inspired to pick up a bat and play themselves.”
The recent development at the Phillip High Performance Centre means that the development pathway in the region has never been better. The centre includes 13 turf training wickets and for the first time ever, developing Canberra players have a dedicated indoor training centre for those chilly winter months.
“The people of Canberra are blessed with wonderful recreation spaces for sport. The ACT has the highest sport participation rates per capita in Australia and this comes with enormous benefits to health and to the community,” said Cameron.
“For cricket a key focus in the next strategic cycle is developing the girls’ and women’s games here. We’re working hard to establish a female cricket committee, which will provide a pathway for girls to navigate the club system and increase participation rates.”
Some of cricket’s biggest stars began their cricket careers in Canberra—Nathan Lyon, arguably the greatest Australian off-spin bowler of his day, spent his early twenties training in the city and his spare time groundskeeping at the Manuka Oval.
This summer will see more legends descend upon the ACT, as the Big Bash League and Women’s Big Bash League matches between Sydney Thunder and Renegades take place on 24 January. “With over a million people around the globe expected to tune it to these matches, it’s this kind of major exposure that shows Australia and the world what Canberra has to offer.”
If you are feeling inspired to pick up a bat, visit playcricket.com.au to find out how to get involved. Tickets for the Men’s and Women’s Big Bash League game are sold out, but for other events including the PM’s XI match, visit manukaoval.com.au/events/.
You can catch the Big Bash game at 7:30pm on January 24 on TEN.