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Cricket ACT wants the Big Bash League, Tests and ODIs

Cricket ACT will launch a bold bid to host all three forms of the game, confident they can consistently sell out Manuka Oval on a three-to-five-year cycle.

Cricket Australia has already locked in a one-day or Twenty20 international to be played in Canberra every summer until 2019, but Cricket ACT boss Cameron French believes the nation's capital has shown it has the desire to watch a historic first Test match and the Big Bash League.

With Test crowds drying up in Hobart, Perth and Brisbane, Canberra is in line to host its first Test next summer when Australia plays six Tests – three against South Africa and three against Pakistan.

The BBL is looking at expanding its fixture next season with the idea of potentially taking games to regional centres, again opening the way for the booming competition to return to Canberra – which hosted last year's final.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr has previously said the ACT government would be willing to give up next summer's ODI in exchange for a Test and French felt Canberra had earned the right to form part of a rotation of games.

French said they would look to host a BBL game every year – with the Sydney Thunder, who the University of Canberra sponsored for one season, the obvious team to link with.


He also wanted to hold either a Test or an ODI annually as well to ensure interest didn't wane.

Cricket Australia will start working on next summer's fixtures once this season is finished.

"I think the Canberra cricket community would love to have it all," French said.

"The indications from Cricket Australia is that they're looking to expand the number of [BBL] games before expanding the number of teams.

"We hold ambitions to have our own side here in the ACT, but that might be some time off.

"We want the Canberra community to experience the Big Bash and a logical partnership for us is with the Sydney Thunder and potentially having a Thunder game here.

"If there's enough content in the schedule, we'd love to have a game here once a year."

French said the different forms of the game attracted different crowds – with the BBL good for families and kids, Tests catering to the traditionalists and the ODIs as an event.

He said Canberra had proved it was hungry for cricket, producing sellouts whenever games were brought to the ACT.

They sold out the BBL final between the Perth Scorchers and Sydney Sixers last year, the historic first time the Australian team played at Manuka – against the West Indies as part of Canberra's centenary in 2013 – as well as the World Cup clash between Bangladesh and Afghanistan last year.

"We feel like a mixture of content, which is designed for different markets, would suit the broader community – the positioning of the Big Bash is different to the positioning of one-day cricket and Test matches," French said.

"So over a cycle, be that three years or five years, having that mix of content would really suit the various market segments and hopefully inspire the broader community to get behind cricket."

Wednesday's ODI between Australia and India was already close to a sellout, with growing speculation suggesting fans were a chance to see two former ACT Comets in action for their country.

It's the fourth of a five-game ODI series between the two sides and Aussie quick Josh Hazlewood could be rested, opening the way for Jason Behrendorff to make his international debut.

Raised in Canberra, but now playing for Western Australia and the Perth Scorchers, Behrendorff has proven to be a wicket taker in all three forms of the game.

There have also been calls for Nathan Lyon to get picked in the 50-over format after a strong BBL campaign.

Bizarrely, the off-spinner has been pigeon-holed as a Test specialist, despite first getting noticed playing T20 for South Australia.