Babysitting Lions cubs

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Looking after visiting England cricket stars is 24/7 job.

Don’t forget to pick up the players’ laundry in the morning and drop it back by the end of the day.

That’s the friendly advice from long-time New Zealand Cricket liaison manager John Bishop to Queenstowner Ian Paterson, who takes on that role for the touring England Lions team that arrives in the resort tomorrow.

Bishop – who managed Westpac bank’s Queenstown branch 20 years ago and has looked after visiting cricket teams for 14 seasons – can’t handle the second-tier English team as he’s looking after the high-profile Indian squad.

Paterson will be England A’s NZ liaison manager not just for its four-day international against New Zealand A – starting at the Events Centre on Sunday – but for all its matches, finishing on March 19 in New Plymouth.

Bishop says Paterson will have to organise the players’ laundry because hotel rates are generally too dear.

“[The job’s] quite demanding because you are on call the whole time,” Bishop warns.

Usually you don’t get calls at night, but you might still have to organise a player’s visit to a doctor or a hospital.

“If I’m required I’ve got to do it, it’s as simple as that,” Bishop says,

“You’re on the move on a pretty regular basis and it’s so easy to overlook organising the bus for a certain time or arriving at the airport late.”

Shifting players’ luggage could also be a problem for Paterson, especially between games at Lincoln, near Christchurch, and Palmerston North, Bishop says.

He advises Paterson to attend all practices as well as the games: “Half the time it’s not required but there’ll be that one occasion when something happens.

”Because they’re top athletes they need to have what they require to perform, even if it does go over the
top at times.”

A former Otago Country Cricket chairman, Paterson recently resigned after six years as a manager at the Events Centre. He’s been in Christchurch this week training to become a property broker, but he’s putting that on hold for his NZ Cricket job.

He’s also delaying his 50th birthday celebrations – he reaches that milestone during the England Lions tour.