A top former New Zealand cricket captain believes Queenstown’s not far away from hosting a Test match.
Stephen Fleming – speaking ahead of the New Year’s Day one-dayer between NZ and the West Indies – says: “You could easily have a Test down here, no two ways.”
Fleming top-scored in the first one-day international at the Queenstown Events Centre in 2003, making 47 as NZ beat India by seven wickets.
Since then, there have been another seven ODIs – although the last two were rained off – but never a five-day Test.
“There’s no doubt it’s a beautiful place to play, but quite possibly a little more infrastructure around the stands and the facilities, for five days, would be something they would look at,” Fleming says.
Because the ground’s big, Fleming says players lose a bit of its atmosphere when out in the middle: “I wonder if it needs a bit more height around the stands just to create a close environment for players.
“I’m being a bit picky – it’s a great ground to play at and I know the opposition love going down there.”
Meanwhile, Fleming doesn’t think the much-publicised verbal abuse, or sledging, between players in the current Australia versus England Ashes Test series is having much bearing on the result.
“I think the best players still rise to the top – sometimes you can have a short-term effect but I think most of the players have heard it all before.
“It’s more the fact that [Australian Mitchell] Johnson’s bowling 150 kilometres an hour, than what he’s saying, [that’s affecting the result].”
Fleming is playing the NZ Open golf pro-am at The Hills and Millbrook, near Arrowtown, in February, as are former Aussie cricket captains Allan Border and Ricky Ponting.