Canberra, Australia's Manuka Oval To Host Big Bash League Competition
Canberra, Australia secured a "massive coup" with the announcement that it will host the Big Bash League final, according to Gaskin & Dutton of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Cricket ACT and the ACT government hope having the decider "in front of a packed house of 14,000 fans at Manuka Oval will help push Canberra's claims for a team in any extended BBL competition." It will be the first time the final will be held at a "neutral venue after Cricket Australia was forced to examine alternative solutions because of a heavy schedule" of int'l fixtures and the cricket World Cup in February and March. The decision caused a "huge reaction on social media." Several int'l players, including Kevin Pietersen, Ben Cutting and Daniel Christian, "criticised taking home field advantage away." ACT Sports Minister Andrew Barr "began talks with Cricket Australia with the expectation of trying to secure a regular-season game of the BBL." Barr: "It turned out the best fit in the schedule and for the venues was to have the final. It's a massive coup for the city and the region to have a match of this magnitude" (SMH, 7/30). NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA reported this is "by far the biggest feather Manuka Oval administrators will be able to put in their caps -- but their counterparts at the various Big Bash franchises are likely to be less pleased with the decision." Perth Scorchers CEO Christina Matthews expressed "some disappointment but couldn't resist using the decision as a way to get a few jabs into her rivals." Matthews: "Whilst we are disappointed to have not been given the rights to host the final, we are comfortable that, given CA's desire to hold the final in a neutral venue, they have chosen a truly neutral venue and not another team's ground" (NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA, 7/30).