Sport

Big Bash League final may become permanent fixture in Canberra

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Kevin Pietersen, turn away now - the Big Bash League final could become a permanent fixture in Canberra.

BBL manager Anthony Everard says the door remains open for Manuka Oval to become the centrepiece of the Twenty20 competition in the long-term after giving the ground his seal of approval.

Everard was in Canberra on Thursday to inspect the venue and to meet representatives from the ACT government and Cricket ACT.

Cricket Australia's decision to bring the final of the 2014-15 season to Manuka Oval on January 28 next year was met with resistance from state associations intent of playing in front of their home supporters as in previous seasons.

It also drew the ire of several high-profile players including Pietersen, the former England batsman bewildered he could be playing off for the trophy at a city which is good if you "enjoy staring at walls and watching paint dry for entertainment".

But Everard had nothing but praise for the upgraded boutique ground, which will also host three games in next year's World Cup in February and March.

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"The decision is driven by the unique 2014-15 season, but equally we are keeping an open mind to what the future of the finals may look like," he said. "It will be interesting to see how the fans respond to what we're doing in Canberra next year.

"The priority is a full house on the night, and then we'll sit down at the end of the season to see how things went, and that will largely dictate what the future will look like.

"We've had success with the home team hosting to date and we anticipate this will be successful as well."

The commitments of the World Cup and other international fixtures meant several grounds around Australia were unavailable to host the BBL final.

A strong turnout for the BBL final will be another measure of whether there is enough interest to justify a Canberra Twenty20 team.

Everard said there were no immediate plans to expand the eight-team competition, but that Canberra was certainly on the radar as a possible destination.

"I don't think we're any closer to it, I think our focus is on establishing what we have in place," he said. "We've had fantastic growth over the last few years, we had 30 per cent increase in attendance last year in particular.

"There's no question, at the appropriate time we'll expand the competition, and yes, Canberra will be very much in the mix as a market that we would look to, along with some of the more regional centres around Australia.

"It's not a key focus for us at the moment, but having said that, it's all the more reason why we can bring a game here this year and give Canberra sports fans a taste of BBL action via the final."