An Aussie Rules team have been warming up the Black Caps batsmen at a Queenstown training session today.
The Kiwi team are preparing for their one-day international against Pakistan at Queenstown Events Centre tomorrow – with a helping hand from St Kilda Saints players.
The AFL team are also based at the Events Centre during a week-long training camp here.
Black Caps manager Dave Currie says eager locals normally warm up NZ batsmen before a Test, but since the game’s mid-week, it’s harder to get volunteers.
He says it is “serendipitous” the Saints took the initiative and volunteered their bowling services to Pakistani players practising yesterday – and did the same with the Kiwi side about lunchtime today.
For Saints player Sam Crocker, 18, the novelty of bowling to Black Caps was “something completely different but awesome”.
“We watch them on TV and then we’ve bowling to them,” Crocker says.
Plenty of the Saints players had a whack at stumping the NZ batters – and a couple succeeded.
Saints forward Daniel Archer, 19, is no stranger to the cricket pitch, representing his home region of Tasmania at under-17 level.
“A fair few us have a background in cricket,” Archer says.
Members of the Queenstown Cricket Club are also testing their arms against the national batters today.
The Saints are taking a break from training this afternoon to go for a blast on the Shotover Jet.