Gabba's new opportunity centre of attention

Gabba's new opportunity centre of attention

There is no debate about the most famous piece of grass in Queensland.

It's smack-bang in the middle of the Gabba. It's where Australia's Test cricketers have built a fortress – our Test team hasn't lost on that grass since 1988-89.

We won our first Sheffield Shield final there 25 years ago and that's still one of the great moments in Queensland's modern sporting history.

It's now hosted an AFL grand final to add to Olympic Games football and a rugby Test against the British and Irish Lions.

It's a ground for all seasons but particularly summer. When the Brisbane Heat walks on to the Gabba this week to play the Adelaide Strikers, I know we'll get a fair ground that gives everyone a chance to do their best.

And Heat fans will have a better fan experience in a ground that has received some handy renovations in recent times courtesy of the State Government.

But that doesn't mean that we can't continue to improve the venue.

I know that the Australian players love coming here because the Gabba wicket block is so good, but I also want them to come here because the overall facility is outstanding.

The Gabba has been overtaken by some of the modern developments at other grounds around the country including Optus Stadium in Perth and the remodelled Adelaide Oval.

Adelaide provides spaces where crowds can stay long after the game to socialise – it brings a festival feel as the ground becomes the centre of the city.

The Gabba also becomes the business and social centre of the city for parts of the summer when the corporate boxes are packed with Queensland's movers and shakers.

The pool deck has been a great addition to the Gabba in recent years but more can be done.

The Gabba isn't easy to get to and from – a capacity crowd spilling on to narrow footpaths at the end of play isn't ideal.

But I'm glad that help is on the way.

Cross River Rail will revolutionise the Gabba travel experience by ensuring thousands of spectators can come and go very quickly.

A planned walkway from the new station to the ground can help to bring a more festival feel to a venue where the fun doesn't have to end the moment play stops.

By then, Brisbane should be a transformed city as we welcome some major infrastructure developments by 2025.

I'm excited about that future – certainly a lot more excited about that than I was by the sight of the Gabba wicket when I played my first game for Queensland there a decade ago.

The pitch was so green I expected a branch to spring out of it at any minute.

But I came to love that Gabba wicket as much as I love this city in which I've grown up.

I played my first one-day international for Australia at the Gabba. I batted across a full day in a Sheffield Shield match against Victoria.

I remember fondly hitting the ball over the roof of the grandstand one night for the Heat. That felt good.

But I've enjoyed just as much some of my days as a spectator at the ground watching the Lions or watching cricket.

They've been memorable days.

I know there are more of those to come if we can give the Gabba the love that it deserves. It's an iconic ground that has a long future ahead of it.

Chris Lynn is the captain of the Brisbane Heat

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