Rumours have been flying around the colour city for some time but on Thursday Orange City Council sports and recreation community committee chair Jason Hamling confirmed all the whispers.
The Sydney Thunder, reigning Big Bash League (BBL) champions, will play at Wade Park this summer and they will bring their full squad.
That means the likes of 59-Test veteran Shane Watson and Australian cricket wunderkind Pat Cummins.
The Thunder will take on the Hong Kong national side in two Twenty20 trial games at Wade Park on Sunday, December 11 as part of their six-match practice match schedule leading into the sixth edition of the BBL.
“In terms of cricket, this is one of the biggest games Orange has hosted in a long, long time. Council is always trying to attract [marquee sporting events] so the people here don’t have to go over the mountains, they can see [elite sport] in their own area,” Hamling said at the game’s official announcement on Friday morning.
“It’s an international game with Hong Kong playing … and the Thunder have told us they’ll be bringing their whole squad and will be taking the game seriously so it’ll be high quality cricket.”
Hamling said with the quality of players on offer in both sides – former Australian One-Day International player Ryan Campbell is set to play for Hong Kong – he’s hoping for a massive crowd.
“I’m hoping all sporting fans will come and enjoy the game, not just from Orange but from the entire Central West,” Hamling enthused.
“I can’t wait … there’s so much more atmosphere when it comes to watching a game live at the ground. It’s fantastic that local families will be able to enjoy two games on a Sunday at Wade Park.
“I think Cricket NSW realised we have a fantastic facility in Wade Park and I must pay homage to them and the Thunder for bringing the game out to regional NSW, and choosing Orange.”
The Thunder released the squad they expect to show off at Wade Park, including Watson, Cummins, Gurinder Sandhu, teen prodigy Jason Sangha, Clint McKay, who took the most wickets last season and Usman Khawaja.
Irish-born England ODI captain Eoin Morgan looms as another priority target for the Thunder in terms of recruitment.
Details regarding school visits and curtain-raisers are yet to be confirmed.