May 22, 2018 / 5:52 AM / a month ago

Cricket: New Zealand set to dump Eden Park for new Auckland venue

AUCKLAND (Reuters) - Auckland’s Eden Park may not host another test match with New Zealand Cricket (NZC) pondering the use of a redeveloped Western Springs Stadium as an alternative venue in the country’s most populous city.

Cricket - Test Match - New Zealand v England - Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand, March 23, 2018. A security guard stands in front of a stand during a rain delay on the second day of the first cricket test match. Picture taken March 23, 2018. REUTERS/David Gray

Hiring the multi-purpose Eden Park posed a serious financial challenge to NZC, which is not considering the stadium for any home test matches next year, according to New Zealand news website Stuff www.stuff.co.nz.

“Auckland is currently missing out significantly on international cricket exposure due, primarily, to the lack of a cost-effective, financially-viable venue,” NZC chief executive David White wrote in a submission to the Auckland Council.

“Eden Park, the only ICC-sanctioned arena in New Zealand’s most populous city, is unaffordable for all but the biggest and, by definition, the rarest of international cricket fixtures.

“For this reason, Auckland has hosted just three test matches since 2006, and the number of one-day internationals and T20 internationals played in the city has been a mere fraction of what it would be, were it to offer a fit-for-purpose, international-standard cricket ground.”

Eden Park hosted its first test match when New Zealand played England in 1930 and its most recent and 50th one was between the same opponents in March this year.

The NZC finds the 41,000 capacity stadium relatively “small” and is also not happy with its rectangular, football-shaped playing area. Consequentially, action may shift to the Western Springs Stadium, which currently hosts speedway and rugby.

“As proposed, a newly-developed cricket amenity, with a full-sized, oval-shaped playing arena; able to cater for both small and large crowds in a relaxed, grass-banked, more cricket-centric surrounding, would guarantee Auckland significantly more men’s and women’s international cricket,” the NZC added.

Cricket - Test Match - New Zealand v England - Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand, March 24, 2018. Groundsmen talk on the field during a rain delay on the third day of the first cricket test match. REUTERS/David Gray

Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by John O'Brien

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