The Hagley Oval could get new lights, putting it in contention to be one of the venues for the ICC Women's Cricket World Cup 2021 being held in New Zealand.
The request from the Canterbury Cricket Trust (CCT) for new broadcast-standard lights was approved last month, allowing the installation of 49-metre-long light towers. With this, the venue can be considered as host for major international games, especially the 50-over World Cup, scheduled for January-February 2021.
The picturesque ground, which is part of a large urban green space, had previously hosted three matches during the 2015 Men's Cricket World Cup. At that time, it had been granted the resource consent for four removable light stands, but the stands weren't installed as all the games, including the tournament opener between New Zealand and Sri Lanka, were day affairs.
"Christchurch has said we need these facilities, we need these events, we need to get back to the national stage," CCT chairman Lee Robinson said. "The trust now had everything it needed for the lights apart from raising the estimated $4 million the lights would cost."
Robinson added that the installation process is likely to begin in April, with the lights ready for use by October.
The authorities also signed off on an increase in the number of match days per year at the ground, for matches getting more than 2000 spectators, from 13 to 20. Five of these days will be allowed to host a crowd more than 20,000; earlier, only two games with more than 12,000 spectators were allowed every three years. Besides, five additional match days shall be granted in years when the country hosts ICC events.
Till date, Hagley Oval has hosted women's teams for three Tests, eight ODIs and a lone T20I since the first Test in 1969, while the men have played six Tests, 14 ODIs and a T20I there. That T20I, between the hosts and England in November 2019, was the last international fixture at the venue.
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