July 9, 2002

Queenstown joins New Zealand's international venues

Queenstown will join New Zealand's list of international venues by hosting a One-Day international against India next year, while a Super Max International will also feature on the tour.

However, there will be no Boxing Day Test this summer. New Zealand Cricket released the tour schedule today.

The only two Tests in New Zealand over the summer will be in Wellington and Hamilton before Christmas.

New Zealand Cricket chief executive Martin Snedden said the decision on the Boxing Day Test was not a precedent for future seasons. It had been necessary because India needed to be home for the World Cup preparation by January 16 and to fit that in New Zealand felt it was best that both teams have seven ODIs in succession as part of their World Cup build-up rather than splitting the ODIs around the Tests.

"We will go back to it next year," Snedden said.

He added that there were also financial reasons for not playing ODIs before Christmas.

The two Test, seven ODI tour will start with a Max international being played at a venue still to be decided.

The last time a Max international was played was for the opener of the West Indies tour at Christchurch in 1999/00.

Queenstown which was the spectacular venue for the Otago team's three-day match against England earlier this year, will host an ODI on January 4, the height of the holiday season in the summer resort.

"The ideal situation for us is to ensure that every region gets an international game.

"At that time of year there are no students in Dunedin and most people from Dunedin are in Central Otago so Carisbrook was not a viable option.

"Alexandra is not easy to get up to the required standard and the Queenstown Events Centre are keen because it will take some effort to get it to standard but we are confident that can be done," he said.

"It is important that we get international cricket into the Otago region.

"There is a fairly large holiday population in Central Otago then and it is a ground with a beautiful backdrop," he said.

Hamilton will host its first ODI under lights with the final game of the tour on January 14.

"They've put a huge investment into the ground in Hamilton. We considered Taupo but it was Northern Districts' wish that Hamilton be supported. All the reports are that the lights will be good for a night game," he said.

The State Shield has been timed to coincide with New Zealand's departure to South Africa and most players will be involved in the domestic one-day series before leaving.

The selectors also asked that Shield games be scheduled after the one-day series so they could assess any players who may have come into consideration during the first part of the State Shield.

The first Test of the tour will be at the Basin Reserve in Wellington from December 12-16 and the second Test will be in Hamilton from December 19-23.

The itinerary is:

Super Max International at TBA, December 4; India v Central Districts at Napier, Dec 6-8; 1st Test at Wellington, Dec 12-16; 2nd Test at Hamilton, Dec 19-23; 1st ODI at Auckland (day/night), Dec 26; 2nd ODI at Napier, Dec 29; 3rd ODI at Christchurch (day/night), January 1; 4th ODI at Queenstown, Jan 4; 5th ODI at Wellington (day/night), Jan 8; 6th ODI at Auckland (day/night), Jan 11; 7th ODI at Hamilton (day/night), Jan 14.