SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 14: Fawad Ahmed of the Thunder celebrates with his team after taking the wicket of Sean Abbott of the Sixers during the Big Bash League match between the Sydney Sixers and the Sydney Thunder at Sydney Cricket Ground on January 14, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Stadium Australia is set to undergo a major redevelopment in the coming year, with the New South Wales government to confirm stadium plans by Christmas.

While most of those stadium plans within the city of Sydney are centred around suburban NRL venues, including upgrades of Brookvale, Leichhardt, Cronulla and a new stadium at Penrith, there has also been a provision for a roof to be built over Stadium Australia.

The former Olympic venue, which hosts Sydney’s biggest events including the State of Origin series and NRL grand final, hasn’t hosted cricket for some years.

During the formative years of the Big Bash League, Stadium Australia was one of the main venues used in Sydney, however, with falling crowds, the Sydney Thunder decided to move across the road to the Sydney Showgrounds Stadium, and Stadium Australia has been neglected by cricket ever since.

It was assumed at one point in 2019 that cricket would never return to the venue when plans were made public for it to be transformed into a permanent rectangle, however, with that scrapped and a roof now in the works, venues NSW boss Tony Shepherd has told The Daily Telegraph that he believes it could be an excellent cricket venue.

“Why wouldn’t we play cricket there? A one-dayer, why not? With an opening and closing roof we can guarantee the ticket sales in all weather conditions,” Shepherd said.

“People aren’t going to sit in the rain to watch sport. They’ll stay at home and watch TV rather than get soaked. We’re looking at all event options.”

It’s understood the roof over the venue could be part of a big push for Sydney to host the final of the 2028 T20 World Cup when the tournament returns to Australia next following the 2022 version.

That tournament will be co-hosted with New Zealand.

Up until now, Melbourne has hosted all major tournament finals in Australia, with two One-Day World Cup finals, and the upcoming 2022 T20 World Cup final.

But Sydney are making a substantial play for some of Melbourne’s events, with the stealing of the Australian F1 Grand Prix recently put back on the table by the New South Wales state government, and while Test matches wouldn’t be moved to the new venue, Shepherd said there was a plan to save the Olympic Stadium by turning it into one of the world’s best sporting venues.

“We’re doing some exploration work on the NFL,” Shepherd said. “We’d like to host a game for points. It would be fabulous.
“Look, the Olympic stadium can’t survive unless it gets major events. That’s why there’s a plan to do the roof and turn it into one of the world’s best sporting venues.”