Canberra in perfect position to give talented youngsters a bash at big time in BBL, says Michael Bevan

Having been forced to leave Canberra to chase his cricketing dreams, Michael Bevan believes the city is now perfectly placed for entry into the Twenty20 Big Bash League.

In Canberra on Wednesday to talk with Australia’s next generation of stars at the national under-15 championships, Bevan said the amount of state-quality players produced in Canberra showed the region deserved to have a team in the national competition.

Canberra players have made their mark at both international and domestic level this season.

Brad Haddin and Nathan Lyon are both vital components of the Test team.

Ryan Carters has scored three first-class centuries for NSW and left-arm paceman Jason Behrendorff is one of the country’s rising fast-bowling stars with his exploits for Western Australia.

Canberra grade players Jono Dean, Blake Dean and Ben Oakley all played in the BBL.

”One guide is how many players are coming through and where do they go, and I was faced with that same situation,” Bevan said.

”There isn’t any reason why there couldn’t be a Big Bash team in Canberra. The facilities are generally pretty good and the population is close to where it needs to be to support that. It would give opportunities to players on the fringe of teams to get that experience and strengthen the ability to make them better players.”

Bevan made his senior debut at 15 with Weston Creek in the 1985-86 season before joining Tuggeranong and progressing to the ACT side.

He was the leading run-scorer in the national under-19 championships before moving to South Australia for a 12-month stint at the AIS cricket academy.

That’s where he made his entry into the Sheffield Shield, switching to NSW in the 1990-91 season in the start of a long association with the Blues.

Bevan went on to play 18 Tests, but is remembered as one of the greatest one-day batsmen of his generation, finishing with an outstanding average of 53.58 from 232 ODI games.

Cricket ACT is ready to launch a Big Bash bid if Cricket Australia decides to expand the eight-team competition.

The Sydney Thunder has an affiliation with the ACT and is looking to play a game, either a fully-fledged BBL fixture or a practice game, at Manuka Oval next summer.

Bevan, who coaches Eastern Suburbs in the Sydney grade competition, said Australia’s batsmen needed to prove themselves in the final Test against South Africa.

”This will be a good litmus test for the Australian team,” he said.

”There’s question marks at the highest level if Australia wants to be the best Test-playing nation because Australia haven’t done it on a consistent basis. Guys like Steve Smith have shown promise. Shaun Marsh, David Warner and Chris Rogers have done really well … They need to do it with the Test series on the line.”

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