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Cricket legends to participate in New Zealand Open

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1.78K   //    17 Jan 2015, 05:15 IST
Brian Lara plays a tee shot ahead of the 2014 Australia Open

West Indies legends Sir Viv Richards and Brian Lara, Englishmen Sir Ian Botham and Graeme Swann, Australians Ricky Ponting and Shane Warne and New Zealanders Stephen Fleming, Nathan Astle and Mark Richardson will be among those to play alongside professionals as part of the Celebrity Challenge teams event at the Hills and Millbrook courses near Queenstown in March.

The teams will play in a two-ball best-ball team format with a professional, and the winner will be decided by calculating the lowest score after four rounds. It will be a four day affair running from the 12th to the 15th of March.

Celebration of Kiwi nation hosting World Cup

"I find it difficult to turn down the chance to come and play golf in New Zealand, especially in Queenstown with its stunning scenery and fantastic food and wine," said former England great Ian Botham..

"I've played in the Dunhill event for many years, and it's just great to see a tournament played across similar lines being held in New Zealand."

Ponting is slated to make a return to the course after showing impressive form at The Hills last year, rattling off six birdies in his opening round. Lara, Astle, Warne and Swann will be making their debuts in Queenstown, although Warne did play a round at The Hills last year.

New Zealand Open organising committee chairman John Hart expressed excitement at the stellar cast of cricketers for the New Zealand Open this time. He said, “Our tournament creates the opportunity to celebrate New Zealand's co-hosting of the Cricket World Cup, and to enjoy the banter and rivalry that exists amongst this group of legendary sportsmen."

Ian Botham and Mark Richardson, for example, will be looking to re-ignite a famous duel from the 1980s, only this time on the more sedentary golf course.

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