Darren Lehmann's call to save Gabba pitch amid Olympics bid

Chris Young
·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
Brisbane Heat coach Darren Lehmann wants the original Gabba pitch to be preserved, should the Queensland capital be successful in its being for the 2032 Olympic Games. Pictures: Getty Images
Brisbane Heat coach Darren Lehmann wants the original Gabba pitch to be preserved, should the Queensland capital be successful in its being for the 2032 Olympic Games. Pictures: Getty Images

Former Australian cricket coach Darren Lehmann is part of a bid to preserve the Gabba pitch should Brisbane's pitch for the 2032 Olympics be successful.

Now the coach of the BBL's Brisbane Heat, Lehmann says the Queensland capital's bid for the Games has his full support - but not if it comes at the expense of one of Australian cricket's happiest hunting grounds.

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The massive logistical demands likely to be placed on the Gabba for the Games will likely result in the pitch being dug up.

The loss of the pitch, with the Gabba one of just two venues not to utilise a drop-in pitch, would be an unacceptable loss for Lehmann, who is campaigning for it to be removed and preserved while the Games go on.

The SCG is the only other Test venue in Australia not to make use of a drop-in pitch.

“I like (the Olympic bid) … as long as they keep the wicket, that is all I want to see,’’ Lehmann told News Corp.

“But the funding, the Olympics year, the new stadium, that is as exciting as it gets for Queensland Cricket. As long as they keep the wicket as is. Same wicket please.’’

Brisbane is believed to be one of the frontrunners to secure the 2032 Games, having been listed as a 'preferred' bidder thanks to the relatively recent Commonwealth Games in 2018, as well as the existence of much of the required sporting infrastructure.

Terry Svenson, the chief executive of Queensland Cricket, said said the governing body's preference was for the existing wicket to remain in place over a drop-in.

NZ cricketers vaccinated for England trip

All of New Zealand's home-based cricketers heading to England for a two-match Test series and the World Test Championship final have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The New Zealand government said last month it would allow sports people to jump the queue in the country's vaccine rollout to allow them to participate in events of "national significance".

The country has also started administering vaccinations to its athletes ahead of their departure for the July 23-August 8 Tokyo Olympics.

The cricket team will travel to England for a two-Test series starting on June 2 before facing India in the ICC World Test Championship final on June 18 in Southampton.

New Zealand cricketer Neil Wagner receives the first shot of his coronavirus vaccine ahead of the team's upcoming tour of England. Picture: Twitter/BlackCaps
New Zealand cricketer Neil Wagner receives the first shot of his coronavirus vaccine ahead of the team's upcoming tour of England. Picture: Twitter/BlackCaps

New Zealand Cricket on Tuesday posted a photo on Twitter of paceman Neil Wagner getting his injection.

"He's the last of our New Zealand-based players to receive the first of two doses ahead of departure to England in May," they tweeted.

ESPNCricinfo reported that New Zealand may need to "patch up" the Test side against England, as players from the IPL would require extended quarantine after Britain added India to its travel 'red list' on Friday.

Test players Kane Williamson, Mitchell Santner, Trent Boult and Kyle Jamieson are currently playing in the Indian Premier League.

All-rounder Colin de Grandhomme said he had returned to training following ankle surgery and would be ready to play.

"Since I've had the surgery the ankle has felt real good and it seems to keep getting better and it feels normal again for a change," De Grandhomme was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.

"Looks like I'm tracking well at the moment and should be ready to go for ball one if I'm needed."

With AAP

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