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Canberra cricket fans in the dark with Sydney Thunder yet to announce BBL venue

Australian cricket's ugly pay war has been blamed for Canberra cricket fans being left in the dark about the immediate future of the Big Bash League in the capital.

The Sydney Thunder are yet to announce a venue for their fifth home game with Manuka Oval in the frame, but the ACT government says all parties are in a holding pattern until the pay dispute is ironed out.

The BBL fixtures were published on Monday morning but the Thunder are yet to confirm the venue for their clash against the Melbourne Renegades on January 24.

Thunder general manager Lee Germon says the club is "in the final stages" of striking a deal, with Manuka Oval firming as an ideal location if the price is right.

Former Australian Test star Michael Hussey has thrown his weight behind bringing a game to Canberra and says it's pivotal for Australian cricket to strike a new memorandum of understanding.

Hussey has played a handful of games at Manuka Oval and the Thunder's director of cricket, would be "rapt" if the club hosted the Renegades in the capital.


"I think it's a great ground, having played there and also watched cricket there as well, I think the facilities are excellent," Hussey said.

"The crowd generally comes out and supports cricket. The lights are of a very high quality so I'd be rapt if we had a game there.

"ACT is in our catchment area so we try and do as much regional community work and engagement as we possibly can.

"It'd be great to take the next step with that and bring a game down to Canberra and play at Manuka Oval. There are negotiations going ahead so hopefully they can get formalised."

The Thunder were also considering playing their fifth home game at their regular venue - Spotless Stadium - following a series of massive crowds last season.

However the club was in talks with Cricket ACT and the ACT government about bringing the match to Canberra as the capital looks to make up for being left off the men's international schedule.

A government spokesperson says talks are still underway "because obviously we still want some sort of content this year", but it hinges on a new MOU.

The government hopes for a speedy resolution to the bitter dispute "in the near future" so they can take things forward with the Thunder.

Canberra shapes as one of four potential regional centres to host BBL games this summer, with the Hobart Hurricanes hosting the Thunder in Launceston on December 30.

The Thunder are one of three clubs yet to confirm a venue for their fifth home game, alongside the Melbourne Renegades and Adelaide Strikers.

The Thunder have confirmed their first four home games against the Sydney Sixers, Perth Scorchers, Hobart, and Adelaide will be played at Spotless Stadium.

Canberra could host a double header with the club still looking to confirm WBBL venues for home fixtures on December 12, 16, 22 and 23, and January 24.

Canberra was squeezed out of the men's international schedule for the upcoming Ashes summer despite being midway through a four-year deal to have international cricket played in the capital.

Canberra will still get a taste of international cricket when Manuka Oval hosts two Twenty20 matches as part of the women's Ashes series in November this year.

The BBL fixtures were published in bizarre fashion, with a handful of tweets from the Sydney Sixers the only peep on social media from any of the franchises or the league itself in the build-up.

A sell-out crowd of 11,837 witnessed the BBL|04 final at Manuka Oval, with tickets for the BBL|07 season going on sale on October 16.