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.

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