International cricket is coming to Bendigo in February.
The International Cricket Council has selected Bendigo to host the East Asia-Pacific Trophy from February 19-25.
The carnival brings together the best cricket nations from the East Asia-Pacific region, including Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Vanuatu, Japan, Philippines, Samoa and Indonesia.
One-day matches will be played at BDCA grounds across the week.
The tournament is an ICC rankings event, with the winning nation promoting its chances of qualifying for the 2019 World Cup. PNG is the highest ranked EAP team in the ICC world rankings at 15.
City of Greater Bendigo major events manager Terry Karamaloudis said the ICC and Cricket Australia had great confidence in Bendigo’s ability to host elite sporting events.
“We have a very good working relationship with Cricket Australia, born out of collaborating with them to stage significant major events over recent years, so when the ICC was looking for a city to host this event Cricket Australia put Bendigo forward as their preferred option,’’ Karamaloudis said.
BDCA president Wayne Walsh welcomed the addition of an international event to Bendigo’s big summer of cricket.
“It’s a testament to council, our clubs and our curators for the work they’ve done to ensure we have good wickets, outfields and surrounds at our grounds,’’ Walsh said.
“Cricket Victoria, Cricket Australia and the ICC have faith in us hosting major events like this.”
Bendigo has successfully hosted the Australian under-12 cricket titles and the Australian Country Cricket Championships in recent years, while later this month two Women’s Big Bash League matches will be played at the QEO.
“As a tier one sport cricket obviously has broad appeal and is a high priority sport for CoGB, our quality infrastructure like the QEO and the many suburban grounds really lend themselves to having a strong portfolio of cricket events,’’ Karamaloudis said.
The East Asia-Pacific Trophy will also provide a boost to Bendigo tourism.
“The international events are ideal because our city gets exposed to an audience that is quite unique,’’ Karamaloudis said.
“The positive impact on our economy is always welcome along with the possibility that some of the international visitors may well come to us with their family on another occasion for a vacation and tell their friends about Bendigo, too.”