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Thunder set to bring T20 to ACT

Sydney Thunder is looking into bringing Big Bash League games to Canberra.

In an arrangement similar to the one Greater Western Sydney has with the national capital, the Thunder would move a Twenty20 fixture from the vast expanses of ANZ Stadium to a revamped Manuka Oval.

The earliest the switch would take place is 2014-15.

Cricket NSW already has a deal to play one Sheffield Shield and a Ryobi Cup limited-overs game in Canberra each season.

The deal expires this summer, but both Cricket NSW and the ACT government have indicated they would be keen to extend the partnership.

Cricket ACT's long-term goal is to have its own team in the national Twenty20 competition, but admits that is unlikely until the end of the new broadcast deal.


Cricket NSW chief executive Andrew Jones said bringing games to Manuka Oval - which will increase capacity to more than 15,000 once redevelopments are complete - is one of several options on the table.

''We have an existing agreement with ANZ Stadium, which goes for another season, then we'll have a discussion with ANZ, the showgrounds stadium in Sydney and Manuka about how we allocate Thunder games,'' Jones said.

''It will depend on strategic and financial considerations. There are some things that need to happen between now and then, but bringing Thunder games to Canberra is very much on the table.''

Australian wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, Test off-spinner Nathan Lyon and NSW wicketkeeper/batsman Ryan Carters were at St Benedict's Primary School in Narrabundah on Thursday as part of the NSW Blues blitz program.

The Blues won't bring a one-day game to Canberra this season because of the work at Manuka Oval, but the ground should be ready in time for a Shield fixture most likely in February next year.

Cricket ACT chairman Ian McNamee believed hosting the Thunder would be the first step in Canberra eventually getting its own team in the Big Bash League.

''That [expansion] has been put on hold, 12 months ago it was a distinct possibility, at the moment it's in limbo,'' McNamee said.

''We have a committee already in place and if we are invited to put an application in, we're ready to roll straight away.

''We see that as something that can happen in the future.''

Cricket Australia, in conjunction with Cricket NSW and Cricket ACT, announced the appointment of two extra development officers to grow the sport in the region.

Cricket Australia national game development manager John Watkin said the amount of talent in the region was immense.