MCG faces battle to keep international cricket
The chief executive of Melbourne's second-largest stadium wants to poach international cricket from the MCG and has not ruled out bidding for the Boxing Day Test. Ian Collins, who is in charge of the Telstra Dome at Melbourne's Docklands, believes the ground should stage more than just the occasional limited-overs fixture.
The right to host Melbourne's international matches could be put to tender unless Cricket Victoria reaches a better commercial deal with the Melbourne Cricket Club. "The contract is up with the MCG in 2009," Collins told the Age. "Hopefully, we will be talking to cricket and hopefully, they will be talking to us about some or all of it."
Telstra Dome has held 12 one-day internationals on its drop-in pitches since 2000 - including the Super Series matches - and is an attractive option in the off-season because of its retractable roof. It was also used when the MCG was unavailable due to Commonwealth Games commitments but it is primarily an Australian rules football ground and has a capacity of about 50,000 - half the size of the MCG.
Collins said it would be more difficult to extend the Docklands ground's hosting rights to Test matches but it was not out of the question. "I think it would be hard to justify playing a Test away from the MCG, especially Boxing Day, but it's a changing market," he said. "We are running a business and when the contract is up we would be very happy to talk to cricket for some or all."
The Age reported that one possibility was for the MCG to retain the Boxing Day Test while Telstra Dome would stage Melbourne's ODIs. In 2004, Cricket New South Wales put its international games to tender but in the end gave all the rights to the SCG ahead of Telstra Stadium at Homebush.