Following a successful two weeks hosting Australia A and South Africa A for two four-day matches, Townsville has launched a bid to have the Tony Ireland Stadium officially sanctioned as an international cricket venue.
Australia currently has nine other venues accredited by the ICC to host Test matches and limited-overs cricket.
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Australia A batsman Callum Ferguson was full of praise for Tony Ireland Stadium after the second match finished in a draw on Sunday.
“We came up here around four years ago to play Pakistan and had a great time back then,” Ferguson told media after play on the final day.
“The facilities at Tony Ireland Stadium were fantastic back then, and even more so now.
“The centre square has settled down a bit now and it’s a great four-day cricket wicket. It provides a bit for everyone, so hopefully we’ll be back here at some stage.
“It’s a great spot to play, especially when a few people started to come in.
“I can picture people up on the grassy knolls around the ground watching one-day international cricket for sure.
“The wicket is good enough, there’s no doubt about that. There’s no reason why there couldn’t be one-day internationals (here).”
The Townsville City Council is working in consultation with Cricket Australia in arranging to bring ICC officials to assess the venue in the coming months.
“Securing the sanction of the ICC is a game changer in our campaign to bring big international cricket matches to Townsville,” Council’s Sporting and Recreation Committee chairman Cr Pat Ernst said.
“We will continue to take advice from Cricket Australia as we work through this process in our bid for the Tony Ireland Stadium to gain ICC accreditation.
“To gain ICC accreditation there is a big list of criteria to satisfy, but we’ve been encouraged to go forward with our request because there is potential for World class matches in this part of the State.
“The accreditation would also provide a major boost to future submissions for government funding for the installation of broadcast quality lighting at the stadium which open up a whole new ball game for day-night cricket and other sport.”
Venues currently accredited by the ICC in Australia:
Melbourne Cricket Ground
Sydney Cricket Ground
WACA Ground, Perth
Blundstone Arena, Hobart
Manuka Oval, Canberra
Marrara Cricket Ground, Darwin
Stadium Australia, Sydney