Ex-Kiwi cricketer Cairns expects Canberra to host international matches soon

Johannesburg: Former Kiwi all rounder Chris Cairns has backed Australian capital Canberra to host international matches soon.

Cairns, who is now Canberra resident, believes the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) should portray the national capital as a potential cricketing venue for international matches, when the Australian team plays for the first time at Manuka Oval next year.

The ACT Government is close to finalizing a deal for the Australian cricket team to play two limited overs internationals, either Twenty20 or 50-over games, next April as part of the city`s centenary celebrations.

Canberra is the only Australian state or territory to have never hosted the Australian team, but the intended late timing in autumn, would make it an even more rare event.

Cairns is confident the proposed timing, in the first week of April, would not act as a restraint for Canberrans, and urged the city to avail the opportunity.

“If you could get it in July in Canberra, it doesn`t matter, just get it here. It`s just great that Cricket Australia now sees Canberra as a potential venue. I think Canberra`s smart in terms of utilizing the centenary to leverage getting the international game here,” the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Cairns, as saying.

“If those two matches are done well then I think it lends weight to that Big Bash potential [bid], whether that`s in two or three years when they decide to extend the league. There`s a lot on the line for Canberra to showcase what it`s capable of, and I think the people here will pass it with flying colours,” he added.

“The [ACT Sports] minister is thinking of a vision and as a cricket fan it`s great to hear him talking that way because often you can fall into the trap of putting on a match or matches and it can be a one-off. Canberra`s got to turn it on in terms of support from the public,” he said.