The old cricket facility in Auckland is not cost-effective or financially viable, says David White, the NZC Chief Executive.
Eden Park, the stage for international cricket in Auckland since 1930, might not host another big-ticket match after New Zealand Cricket (NZC) confirmed that it was looking at the Western Springs Stadium in the city as a more viable alternative for top-drawer cricket.
Auckland’s Eden Park is New Zealand’s largest sports stadium, a multi-purpose sports facility that has regularly hosted rugby union and rugby league matches as well as football, apart from cricket. But it is expensive, meaning that NZC can hire it only for the most lucrative cricket fixtures.
As a result, it has hosted only nine Tests since 2000, and just three since 2006, two against England and one against India.
“Auckland is currently missing out significantly on international cricket exposure due, primarily, to the lack of a cost-effective, financially-viable venue,” David White, the NZC chief executive, has written in a submission to the Auckland Council, according to a NZC statement.
“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,” White continued.
“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.”
White also wrote that Eden Park’s dimensions, a rectangular football-sized field, has been a long-standing concern for NZC as it “continually risks compromising the integrity of cricket matches hosted there”.
As for the Western Springs facility, White felt it can be developed into “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”.
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