Canberra's summer of elite cricket is set for further delays with two state games scheduled to be played at Manuka Oval in late October expected to be shifted away from the capital.
NSW had been locked in to play Victoria in a Sheffield Shield clash at the venue from October 26, and the two sides were to meet on October 31 in a one-day Marsh Cup fixture.
But nationwide lockdowns have forced Cricket Australia to modify its domestic competition, with a host of early season matches already postponed.
It means Manuka Oval likely won't see any elite cricket now until at least December 6, when the Sydney Thunder are set to open their Big Bash campaign against the Brisbane Heat.
A Prime Minister's XI match against Afghanistan has also been slated to be played in Canberra in November, but that will fall by the wayside should Cricket Australia cancel its upcoming Test match against the troubled Asian nation in Hobart.
Manuka Oval was one of Australian cricket's most utilised venues last summer as the COVID pandemic wreaked havoc with domestic and international schedules.
It hosted 13 Big Bash matches last season, some at only a few days' notice, but has lay dormant since the April 23 AFL clash between GWS and the Western Bulldogs.
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That's meant a slower than expected start to life for Manuka's new head curator Tom Fahey, who replaced the indefatigable Brad Van Dam earlier this year.
"It's a logistical nightmare for Cricket Australia to be honest," Fahey said.
"We had the Shield and Marsh Cup that was meant to be played late October, and that's now been taken away.
"Everything's an unknown, we could be thrown anything. We're still applying fertilisers, keeping everything up to scratch, keeping the venue clean just so if we did have the flick of the switch and were told it was on, we were ready to go."
No sport has been played in Canberra for six weeks since the Territory was plunged into a COVID-enforced lockdown, which Fahey said was the one silver lining for his ground staff.
"It's a huge benefit, and gives us the right amount of time to do our renovations, to do the transition. . .getting in and scarifying it down, getting enough grass growth on the wickets," Fahey said.
"From a turf management point of view now, it's actually been quite nice to understand how the seasons work again, understanding the Canberra climate.
"Cricket will especially benefit."