International cricket comeback for QT?
Watching the Black Caps in Queenstown could be back on the cards with a $640,000 upgrade of the playing surface about to start.
The Queenstown Lakes District Council announced reconstruction of the John Davies Oval surface in Frankton on Thursday.
New Zealand Cricket international liaison officer and Queenstown cricket stalwart Ian Paterson welcomed the plans.
‘‘Im quite excited about it.
‘‘I’m sure New Zealand Cricket will look favourably on it and look at bringing international cricket back here.’’
Paterson said he was disappointed to lose international matches from Queenstown.
The last time Queenstown hosted a fully-fledged international was a World Cup quali- fier between lowly Scotland and Hong Kong in 2014.
On New Year’s Day that same year spectators witnessed arguably one of the greatest batting performances by a Black Caps batsman when Corey Anderson hit the then fastest one-day century against the West Indies in front of a 6000-strong Queenstown crowd.
That was the last time the Blacks Caps played a match in the resort.
Paterson believed locals still wanted international cricket and noted matches had been ‘‘reasonably well supported’’ in the past.
However, it would likely be 2019 at the earliest before international cricket was played again in Queenstown, as the Black Caps schedule and ground allocations were already set.
There were whispers of poss- ibly some lower grade matches for next season, Paterson said.
Council spokesman Jimmy Sygrove said they were trying to get the ground up to ’’current international playing standard’’ for next summer.
International matches was ‘‘one of our aims’’, he said.
Getting local teams and community groups back onto the oval was the focus for now though, and the major issue was drainage, Sygrove said.
In a statement, council parks and reserves planning manager Stephen Quin said the upgrade would be a win for the community as the ground had not been upgraded since it was built in 1997.
‘‘The poor surface limits the amount it can be used.’’
It is scheduled for completion by April this year.
New Zealand Cricket international liaison officer Ian Paterson, of Queenstown.