Japan's international standard stadium gets green light

The Sano International Cricket Ground, pictured here during the 2014 ICC EAP Women's Cricket Trophy
The Sano International Cricket Ground, pictured here during the 2014 ICC EAP Women's Cricket Trophy
©Japan Cricket Association
 
The nets being built at the new stadium
The nets being built at the new stadium
©Japan Cricket Association
 

The day when leading cricket teams tour Japan has moved one step closer as development of an international ground being build in Sano City, which lies 80 kilometres north of Tokyo enters its first stages.

The Sano City Council has passed a bill to officially change the name of Tanuma High School to the Sano International Cricket Ground.

Aiming to attract top cricket teams from around the world, this will be the first purpose-built international standard cricket ground in the country.

It continues the commitment made by Sano City Council and mayor Okabe Masahide, to turn Sano into the centre for Japanese cricket and attract teams from around the world.

To get to this stage has seen considerable work with council members travelling to London to visit Lord's, and these trips have inspired the adminstrators to build on an already strong base of sports tourism in Sano.

In 2013, Sano hosted the Pakistan Women's A team and then hosted the East-Asia Pacific Trophy in 2014.

Later this year, the first ever Men's East Asia Cup will be held as teams from China, Hong Kong and Korea battle with hosts Japan in front of what organiser's hope will be healthy crowds.

Sano has four other cricket pitches and playing numbers are on the up. The Junior U15 team are national champions and the senior men's team finished top of the Japan Cricket League Division One before losing at the semi-final stage.

The Sano International Cricket Ground, which currently has three lanes of turf pitches and an indoor gym, will this year host around 180 games of cricket. A three-lane practice net facility with floodlights is currently being built and should be finished by the end of March.

Future plans include a complete renovation of the playing surface to bring it up to One-Day International standard and the construction of a second playing surface to meet Women's ODI standards as well as a new pavilion and an indoor training centre.

© Cricket World 2016