Australia’s traditional Prime Minister’s XI will return this summer after a two-season hiatus due to COVID-19, but in a new guise as a four-day pink-ball match against the West Indies before their two Tests.
The match will be held under floodlights at Manuka Oval from November 23 to 26, and Australia is likely to feature a fresh squad. The home team will be coached by Australian Men’s Assistant Coach Andre Borovec alongside current Australian Capital Territory Women’s Coach Jono Dean.
The West Indies team will play the first Test in Perth on November 30 and the Australian Test squad for that has already been selected. The second Test of the series will be a day-night match in Adelaide.
This first PM’s XI tournament was held in 1951 and included the West Indies. Commenting on the tournament, Australia’s assistant coach, Andre Borovec said,
“The timing of the game leading into the Test summer, for players I see it as being a stepping stone in their ability to play against international teams. The pink-ball nature of this game gives it a uniqueness that requires different skills at different times. Above all it’s an opportunity and information gathering for the selectors and coaches.”
ACT chief executive Olivia Thornton said it was important for Canberra, which currently hosts two men’s T20Is between Australia and England, to be a key part of hosting major tournaments.
“We are always up for being innovative and we are certainly keen to see what it [the pink ball] is like. We’ve shown time and time again that we can produce quality surfaces, whether it’s for T20, Test matches, or one-dayers, we are in pretty good hands.
“We have certainly go some runs on the board in the last little period. If you look back two years ago through Covid it was actually Canberra that facilitated a number of games here through the Big Bash.”
“I was asked the other day about having to prove we’re there, I think that’s gone, don’t think we need to prove anymore. We are really proud of what we do here. I know the players love playing here, it’s a little hidden gem to some degree.”
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will play an “active role” in selecting the squad, along with National Selector George Bailey, for the 70-year-old traditional Prime Minister’s XI series. The Prime Minister stated,
“I am delighted to confirm the return of the Prime Minister’s XI this summer, an Australian tradition that spans 70 years.”
“Along with Cricket Australia, I am very excited to be welcoming the West Indies. I grew up loving watching Viv Richards, Malcolm Marshall and Joel Garner, so I’m thrilled my first PM’s XI as Prime Minister will be against the current West Indies stars here in Canberra.”
“I also want to thank Andre and Jono for the leadership they will provide to my PM’s XI squad. In the coming weeks, I will meet with the National Selectors to discuss what I suspect will be a very strong PM’s XI.”