It looks, on TV, like it lies at the very edge of the world. It's one of the most beautiful, strange grounds I've ever seen, and in my dreams I'd like to bat there. Set at the end of a deep green valley, surrounded by mountains and with a long and apparently depthless [according to Jeremy Coney] lake, Queenstown seems more like a film set than a real place.
What's most alluring about it is its approachability. It has a small and charming stand that appears more like an extended pavilion than anything designed to put bums on seats, and the rest is open, the kind of place you can just wander up to and stroll around, pick a spot to sit for a while. To see international cricket there, well, that's just a curious and welcome bonus.
Small aircraft sweep over it. Traffic sails past in the distance. Boats skim the lake. The views are almost heartbreaking. Then you hear the stats. Average score in ODIs - 173. Highest successful run chase - 236. Man, forget the Gabbatoir. Never mind Eden Gardens with a hundred thousand in, or Sabina Park back in the day, when the pitch shone like a darkened mirror, here is a graveyard disguised as a paradise.
173. Now that must be the lowest par score of any international ground on earth. Queenstown, I'll see you in my dreams...
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