David Polkinghorne July 20, 2012
Chris Gayle takes on the Prime Minister's XI in 2010. Photo: Graham Tidy
Canberra's centenary will get a double-barrelled blast from the world's most explosive batsman, Chris Gayle, under the glare of new Christmas lights.
The ACT government is also set to confirm the rugby league Anzac Test between the Kangaroos and New Zealand will be played at Canberra Stadium next year.
Gayle's West Indies will play the maiden day-night, one-day international at Manuka Oval against Australia on February 6.
It will also be the first time the Australian men's cricket team has played at the historic ground.
In addition the Windies will take on the Prime Minister's XI at Manuka on a date to be confirmed.
Sri Lanka will again visit the nation's capital, this time to take on a Chairman's XI in a three-day match from December 6-8.
ACT cricket fans will hope Gayle can reproduce one of the most explosive knocks Canberra has seen.
The laid-back Jamaican tore apart a PM's XI attack at Manuka in 2010, smashing 146 runs off just 89 balls, including 14 fours and eight sixes.
While ACT Minister for Sport Andrew Barr hadn't contacted the West Indies Cricket Board to plead for Gayle's presence, he was excited about seeing the modern-day Viv Richards in action.
''He certainly would be a drawcard for the one-day match,'' Barr told The Canberra Times yesterday.
''We hope we have a hot, dry summer.''
Barr confirmed the planned Manuka Oval lights would be completed in time for the game.
''The project is proceeding slightly ahead of schedule at this stage,'' he said.
''We anticipate the lights being completed before Christmas.
''We recognise the need to have them in and have them tested prior to the match in February, but at this stage everything is on track … and we look forward to making some announcements in the very near future about who the successful tenderer will be.''
The lights were a crucial element in luring international cricket to Manuka and Barr was hopeful the historic one-dayer would lay the foundation for future games, including international, Big Bash League and 2015 cricket World Cup fixtures.
Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said the West Indies game was the highlight of the summer's fixtures, which were announced yesterday.
''The match is part of a big year of celebrations for Canberra and fans will be spoilt for choice with West Indies playing in the city twice and Sri Lanka once over the course of the summer,'' Sutherland said in a statement.
Barr labelled 2013's centenary as the ''biggest year of sport Canberra has ever seen'', with cricket not the only sport on the menu.
The British and Irish Lions rugby union team will play against the ACT Brumbies at Canberra Stadium, while the women's Australian Open will be held at Royal Canberra Golf Club.
The Canberra Times exclusively revealed the NRL was in discussions with the ACT Government over hosting the Anzac Test in April and Barr confirmed yesterday the deal was as good as done.
He added discussions were continuing to bring the Socceroos and Australian hockey and netball teams to town, as well as an AFL blockbuster between Kevin Sheedy's Greater Western Sydney and his old club Essendon.
''We hope to make a major announcement with the NRL in the very near future … [former ARL Commission chief executive David Gallop] when he visited with [ARLC chairman] John Grant earlier in the year they indicated their in-principle support and we've been negotiating around the commercial elements of the arrangement,'' Barr said.
Tickets will go on sale to the general public for the West Indies-Australia game on October 11.