Canberra is in line to host a Big Bash League hub this summer after securing two international fixtures, with Cricket Australia to lean on Manuka Oval as one of the sport's key venues this summer.
Australia will host India in the third of three one-day internationals on December 2 at Manuka Oval, before backing up two days later to open the Twenty20 series. The two limited overs series will precede four Tests to be held at Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
Canberra is also expected to be announced next week as one of several hub cities which will allow the BBL to be played amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cricket Australia is planning to use hubs for the first half of this season's Big Bash, and are hopeful restrictions will ease early in the New Year to release the shackles on the rigid tournament structure.
Securing the India matches is a major outcome for Canberra and Manuka Oval, which hasn't hosted a sporting event since two Women's T20 World Cup matches were played on February 28.
"To see the powerhouse of India on Manuka Oval is going to be a great coup for the city, knowing the city is going to be beamed to billions of people all over the world," Cricket ACT chief James Allsopp said.
"We know how well it's going to be supported throughout India, we know how well it's going to be supported through the subcontinent community locally as well.
"Hopefully the third one day international is the decider and the third T20 we get to see Virat Kohli and Steve Smith mesmerise us with their skills."
Manuka Oval is considered the best batting wicket in Australia, and received a perfect pitch and outfield rating after hosting the Test match against Sri Lanka two summers ago. It also received several perfect pitch ratings during the Women's World Cup earlier this year.
The last time India played a match at the venue, a whopping 671 runs were scored with Australia a 25-run ODI win in 2016. Aaron Finch, Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan all made centuries.
That was the second ODI India has played at the venue - they also clashed with Sri Lanka in 2008. India has also contested three Prime Minister's XI matches, played twice against the CA Chairman's XI and once against an ACT Invitational XI.
Cricket ACT was hopeful up to 5500 spectators would be allowed to attend the two internationals this summer, but strict COVID-19 restrictions will be in place.
MORE CANBERRA SPORT
"We won't be running passouts and we will be asking people not to bring bags to matchday - that allows us to limit contact points and interaction between security and fans," Venues Canberra chief operating officer Matt Elkins said.
"The cleaners will be around cleaning touch points, they will be asking family groups to sit together.
"We'll be working really closely with Cricket Australia to make sure we can run their biosecurity bubble to make sure everyone can operate safe. People will have to return to their seats, take their drinks and their food back to their seats. What we've found from other events we've run, there's a real commitment from the Canberra community to bring the games back and take that shared responsibility [to co-operate with COVID restrictions]."
Allsopp expected another run feast when the high-powered Indian batting lineup comes to town.
"We'll need to make sure we're COVID safe, we'll also need to make sure we're safe with balls flying over the fence," Allsopp said. "You put those two lineups together with [David] Warner and Finch at the top and Kohli and the likes for India. It's just going to be a great afternoon and night of entertainment."
SUMMER OF CRICKET
First ODI: Friday, November 27 - Sydney Cricket Ground (Day-Night)
Second ODI: Sunday, November 29 - Sydney Cricket Ground (Day-Night)
Third ODI: Wednesday, December 2 - Manuka Oval, Canberra (Day-Night)
First T20: Friday, December 4 - Manuka Oval, Canberra (Night)
Second T20: Sunday, December 6 - Sydney Cricket Ground (Night)
Third T20: Tuesday, December 8 - Sydney Cricket Ground (Night)
First Test: December 17-21 - Adelaide Oval (Day-Night)
Second Test: December 26-30 - Melbourne Cricket Ground
Third Test: January 7-11 - Sydney Cricket Ground
Fourth Test: January 15-19 - The Gabba, Brisbane
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