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Cricket in the snow? The bizarre opening to the Black Caps’ earliest home international season

Shovelling snow off the covers at Hagley Oval the day before a cricket match was a bizarre moment for groundsman Rupert Bool.

A bitterly cold front sweeping through New Zealand brought overnight snow to Christchurch and much of the South Island.

Bool was greeted by the unusual image of a snow covered ground when he arrived at work on Thursday – one day prior to the start of the T20 tri-series at the venue involving the Black Caps, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.

For Bangladesh and Pakistan, who begin the series on Friday (3pm start), the wild weather has been some shock. Bangladesh were in Dubai last week, where temperatures have neared 40 degrees celsius, while Pakistan players have come out of 30C-plus warmth back home.

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MetService said it was 1C in Christchurch at 7am on Thursday – a world away from that heat.

Pakistan captain Babar Azam, Bangladesh vice-captain Nurul Hasan, and Black Caps skipper Kane Williamson shivered through Wednesday’s trophy photo session by the Avon River.

Breakfast

1News’ Maddy Lloyd in Dunedin, and Henry McMullen in the central North Island, report on the conditions on October 6.

This will be the earliest start to a New Zealand home summer of cricket, eclipsing the Black Caps’ one-day series against South Africa in Tauranga and Hamilton in 2014, which began on October 21.

The snow dumping, which had quickly melted by Thursday morning, was a peculiar sight for Bool and his ground staff, but won’t have any impact on the start of the series.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever broomed snow off the covers before to get the covers off – was quite a fun experience. Not something you want to deal with all the time, ”Bool said.

Devon Conway is wrapped up warm during a Black Caps' training session at Lincoln on Wednesday.

John Davidson / Photosport

Devon Conway is wrapped up warm during a Black Caps’ training session at Lincoln on Wednesday.

“Everything is dry and we could have been playing [on Thursday] if we needed to be. The ground drains really well. The pitch is marked and ready to go, we’ve got no concerns at all. “

Bangladesh and Pakistan open the series at 3pm on Friday at Hagley, when the temperature is forecast to be 12C and the skies clear.

The Black Caps trained at New Zealand Cricket’s indoor facility at Lincoln, near Christchurch, on Wednesday and Thursday.

Pace bowler Trent Boult was steaming in at the nets rocking his beanie and team-mates were kitted out in jackets, long sleeve shirts, and track pants.

“It’s definitely cold, but I think I’ve seen colder yeah,” Black Caps coach Gary Stead quipped.

Captains Babar Azam of Pakistan and Kane Williamson of New Zealand at the photo call on Wednesday.

KAI SCHWOERER / Stuff

Captains Babar Azam of Pakistan and Kane Williamson of New Zealand at the photo call on Wednesday.

“I remember playing down in Invercargill [for Canterbury against Otago] and certainly getting an icecream headache when you walked outside. Lucky I’m a coach, I can sit inside. “

The T20 tri-series is an important tournament for all three teams with the T20 World Cup in Australia looming. New Zealand’s opening match is a blockbuster against old rivals Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground on October 22.

The Black Caps have night matches (7pm starts) against Pakistan (Saturday) and Bangladesh (Sunday) to start this weekend where temperatures will plummet, especially for the second innings.

“These guys have played a lot in cold conditions. Most of them have played in England in April-May, so it’s nothing new for them. I think it’s new for New Zealand to perhaps start this early with an international calendar, ”Stead said.

Christchurch-based Black Caps’ allrounder Daryl Mitchell said daughters Addison and Lily raced to the window when they woke up on Thursday to get a glimpse of the snow.

Fielding in cooler conditions this early in the cricket season was a challenge, he said.

“Catching bare hand with a rock hard ball can be tough. This is what we prepare for. Us as Kiwis we’re used to training in these conditions in early September-October in pre-season. For us, we’ll probably have to spend a little bit more time warming up beforehand. “

Quick Lockie Ferguson is dealing with a minor abdominal injury and the team could opt to play it safe and keep him out of this series – depending on how he responds to treatment.

Mitchell Santner, who became a first time dad last week, will link with the Black Caps on Sunday and be available from their third match (against Pakistan on Tuesday).

AT A GLANCE

Black Caps squad: Kane Williamson (c), Martin Guptill, Finn Allen, Devon Conway (wk), Daryl Mitchell, Glenn Phillips, Mark Chapman, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Michael Bracewell, Ish Sodhi, Adam Milne, Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult .

T20 tri-series schedule (all at Hagley Oval, Christchurch):

Friday 3pm: Pakistan v Bangladesh

Saturday 7pm: New Zealand v Pakistan

Sunday 7pm: New Zealand v Bangladesh

Tuesday 3pm: New Zealand v Pakistan

Wednesday 3pm: New Zealand v Bangladesh

Thursday 3pm: Pakistan v Bangladesh

Friday 3pm: Final

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