WACA days numbered as Manuka Oval looms large
India are furious about a 'WACA pitch party' where the Test pitch was walked on before the third Test (Fox Sports)
If that was the last test match ever to be played at the WACA, then what a send off.
Every day was newsworthy for one reason or another whether it was the stifling heat, the Grand Canyon style cracks appearing on day three, or several Australians (and one Englishman) proving why they belong on the international stage.
But Cricket Australia has decided that Perth isn’t worthy of a test next year – when India play four here – due to the World Cup, and the WACA has the same amount of games allocated as Canberra’s Manuka Oval.
If rumours that CA and the ICC have told WACA officials that their ground is not up to scratch are true, then the days of fast, bouncy, irrational cricket may be done.
Manuka Oval (StarTrack Oval for those who want to help them pay the bills) just this year hosted an ODI between Australia and the Windies. The Aussies won by 39 runs and Shane Watson played a wonderful 122.
In 2015 it will host the West Indies again as well as South Africa. The playing surface was relaid this year as well as lowered to accommodate more seating and better dugouts.
The only issue now is that it will be a nervous few months to see if it will retain its lushness and carpet-like state.
Further modifications such as six light towers which illuminate the playing arena superbly have also added to the appeal of Manuka, with four night events being staged there in 2013 and more on the horizon.
There’s also the changing facilities which are very high-class (as a Canberra AFL umpire I have been able to use these facilities multiple times) and are more than able to host world class sport.
These are also a recent upgrade and continue to aid Manuka’s push.
Located in a hip city area, parking is an issue for Manuka, though public transport should be able to rectify such an issue.
That then turns the bustling cafe and restaurant scene which is a mere two-minute walk from the ground into a thriving boom area which will profit from increased activity.
You could argue that Canberra isn’t deserving of a Test. It doesn’t compete at senior state level in domestic cricket and we already have tests in both Melbourne and Sydney, so why go to Canberra as well?
People, it’s about time that we started to play sport in Canberra. Bring the sport, attract the people, build the facilities and watch it thrive.
We must be the only nation which is embarrassed about its capital city – and trust me, after spending two of a possible six years here, I’m not too fond of its deplorable winters and ferocious winds either.
But with it being the capital, we need to start bringing sport to Canberra.
Give Manuka Oval the Test. We can guarantee five full days of cricket.