Practice turf wickets will be installed at Invermay Park that should ensure that first-class cricket eventually will return to Launceston.
The pledge from Cricket Tasmania chief executive Nick Cummins is part of a Cricket Australia infrastructure fund that has risen from $75,000 a year to 195,000 on the back of this year’s Cricket Australia broadcast deal.
That cash injection includes $15,000 set aside for the Mowbray Cricket Club to aid the club’s lack of turf-only nets that will be extended to future visiting state teams.
Lack of practice wickets has held back nearby UTAS Stadium from hosting Sheffield Shield matches after more than two decades since Launceston last played host to the four-day competition.
“The opportunity for UTAS Stadium to produce great cricket like what we saw [Sunday] night means it will become a truly first-class venue,” Cummins said.
“Players will be able to have a hit up before they go out to bat in front of millions people on television.”
Cummins is keen to play more cricket in Launceston after adapting the motto when he came to office last summer that “it’s Cricket Tasmania, not Cricket Hobart”.
That may include more than two BBL games after Sunday’s strong turnout.
“Never say never,” Cummins said. “But I think two fills are like about the right amount for this market now.
“We’ll see how we’ll go – we have never played two Big Bash games here. So maybe ask me the question after the next game [on January 31].
“There was fantastic support and what was really pleasing was how much purple was in the crowd.”
Cummins has no doubt Launcestonians’ support for a Hobart side after hearing of the North-South divide on his arrival from the Thunder.
“There’s a bit of a novelty factor when you first play a Big Bash game, but people return in force,” he said.
“We had our biggest crowd of the year – it just shows how big this region is for cricket.”