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Manuka has bright future, says Haddin

Brad Haddin believes the addition of lights at Manuka Oval means Canberra is poised to be a contender for more marquee events.

Haddin's camp confirmed on Sunday he had been asked to join Ricky Ponting in the Prime Minister's XI team to play the West Indies in Canberra on January 29.

The wicketkeeper sidestepped questions on Monday about whether he intended to join the former Test captain in the first match under lights at Manuka Oval.

His involvement would require clearance from Cricket Australia, but it is understood Haddin is tempted by the opportunity to help farewell his former Test teammate in his home town. Ponting will captain the side, with Australia's one-day international team set to play in Canberra for the first time against the tourists the following week.

Canberra's biggest-ever summer of cricket will continue this week when a Chairman's XI battles Sri Lanka in a three-day clash at the ground, starting on Thursday.

''I think anyone involved in that game has got to be excited,'' Haddin said on Monday.


''It's great for the sport down here, to have a superstar and a great bloke like Ricky Ponting come down to captain a group of young guys, and for everyone to send him off in the way he deserves.

''The best thing about Ricky Ponting, and I've played a lot of cricket with him, is every time he turned up to training he tried to better himself. He'll leave the game in better shape than when he entered it.''

Haddin was set to captain last summer's Prime Minister's XI team but the match was abandoned due to rain without a ball being bowled.

The 35-year-old views Canberra's cricket schedule this summer as an ideal chance for the city to prove itself as a viable venue.

''From the Canberra point of view, I think cricket is moving in the right direction,'' Haddin said.

''It's great to get some lights at Manuka Oval and be able to host some day-night fixtures, and with the PM's XI, the Chairman's XI and the one-day international, it's a great time for cricket in the region. The lights allow the public to get out and support the game after work.''