English Test cricketer Ian Bell says the Queenstown Events Centre’s mountainous backdrop is unrivalled by any other ground.
Well-travelled Bell – who has 83 Tests behind him – is with the newly-assembled squad that started a warm-up game against a New Zealand XI yesterday.
The prolific batsman with 17 Test centuries says the squad enjoyed a day off after most of them arrived in the resort last Sunday.
“I’ve been lucky enough to have a day off here.
“The guys got out and about and played a little bit of golf.
“It’s been nice to walk around the town and just chill out, really – it’s a really nice place to come and relax.”
Bell – speaking to Mountain Scene – says he supports the Events Centre as a prospective World Cup venue in two years’ time.
“There’s no better venue – the facilities and the nets we’ve just had have been incredible.
“The backdrop is absolutely incredible.”
And Queenstown groundsman Peter Domigan agrees.
“I don’t think we really appreciate how good it might be,” Domigan says.
“It’s a very big tournament and goes all over the world to billions of viewers. Asia’s huge as far as cricket goes.
“We get quite a lot of Indian and Asian visitors just walking in off the street to have a look at the ground because they’ve seen it on TV.”
England ex-medium-pace bowler Derek Pringle, The Daily Telegraph’s cricket correspondent, first came here in 2002 when the Events Centre staged its first first-class game – a three-dayer with England and Otago.
“Last time it was even prettier because it had a little frosting of snow as I recall.
“It was about the same time as here, so maybe it’s global warming or you’re having a better summer.”
Meanwhile, a group of England’s boisterous Barmy Army supporters will watch this week’s game before their numbers swell for the first Test in Dunedin next week.
Barmy Army trumpeter Billy Cooper is expected to arrive today.
Batsman ok with swing
England batsman/wicket keeper Jonny Bairstow shows he can handle a bit of swing, braving Queenstown’s Canyon Swing – on a tricycle.
Cricketers Matt Prior, Stuart Broad and Steven Finn also took on the world’s highest cliff jump on Monday – but bowler Graham Onions chickened out.
Swing general manager Matt Hollyer says: “It’s great to have them out to swing with us and seeing them take on some of the more scary and fun jump styles. Their tweets have been brilliant.”