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World cup looming

Last updated 05:00 27/02/2014
Sir Richard HAdlee
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LEGENDARY BOWLER: Sir Richard Hadlee shows his bowling technique to young players at the ICC Cricket World Cup countdown launch. The world cup is expected to boost player numbers on the Hibiscus Coast and in Rodney.

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Excitement is building around preparations for next year's ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.

Clubs and schools are among those gearing up for the big event.

The fixture is expected to generate 78,600 visitor nights and pump $16.71 million into the Auckland economy.

Hibiscus Coast Cricket Club chairman Mike Frost says the tournament will give his club a boost.

"It will lift the profile, and it is pretty high at the moment with the latest series win by the Black Caps against India."

Some of the club's youngest members played in front of the Eden Park crowd during the change of innings at the series.

"It is something we are working towards being involved in again at the club, possibly getting the kids involved with some of the change on innings entertainment," Mr Frost says. "The finer details are not quite set up yet, we are just waiting on organisers."

The club is looking to get members involved by screening world cup games at its rooms.

"It should be good for cricket, good for the country," Mr Frost says.

Hibiscus Coast Cricket Club captain Mark Logan believes many children will get the urge to play and emulate their world cup heroes.

The club normally gets a boost from hosting an annual Super 8 tournament for primary schools in October.

He hopes the world cup will generate even more interest.

"Not just from boys but also girls.

"It is one of the club's goals to get a number of girls' teams up and running," Mr Logan says.

The Kumeu Cricket Club celebrated its 70th anniversary at its new Huapai Reserve clubrooms on Saturday and is looking forward to a big 2015 season. It is well positioned to gain spinoffs from the world cup event.

The Kaipara Flats Cricket Club and high schools in the region expect increased cricketing interest too.

Auckland mayor Len Brown unveiled the official countdown clock this week and was joined by Kiwi cricket legends Sir Richard Hadlee, Martin Crowe, Gavin Larsen, former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar and one of Australia's most successful batsmen, Dean Jones.

Hundreds of budding young cricketers also attended the launch a year out at Queens Wharf.

The day also marked the countdown to a summer of major events for Auckland next year.

These include the FIFA U-20 World Cup, the Volvo Ocean Race Auckland Stopover, NRL Auckland Nines and ITM 500 Auckland (V8 Supercars).

Auckland will also host the biennial Auckland Arts Festival, regular summer events Lantern Festival and Pasifika Festival, and several other events that will form part of Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development's (ATEED) 2014-2015 portfolio.

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Mr Brown says the city is looking forward to welcoming the world's best cricketers.

"I'm confident Aucklanders will embrace this event and give a warm welcome to the many domestic and international visitors who come here for Cricket World Cup, as well as the rest of the 2015 lineup of events. It's events like these that help support Auckland's drive to become the world's most liveable city," he says.

Auckland will host four matches between February 28 and March 24, including Blackcaps versus Australia, South Africa versus Pakistan, India versus Zimbabwe and a semifinal.

ATEED is a council-controlled organisation tasked with the attraction and sponsorship of major events in Auckland, as well as focussing on the region's economic wellbeing and marketing of Auckland as a destination.

- Rodney Times

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