Junction Oval upgrade plans unveiled
Plans have been unveiled for the redeveloped Junction Oval in Melbourne, which is set to become the new site of Victorian cricket's administration and training facilities, and could even host boutique international matches.
The MCG has been Victoria's only first-class venue for the past few seasons but state government funding will allow the Junction Oval to not only join the MCG but to become the newly-badged Victorian Cricket and Community Centre. The project is expected to be complete before the start of the 2017-18 season.
The purpose-built, cricket-only venue will become a year-round training, match and development site for cricket in Victoria. Tony Dodemaide, the CEO of Cricket Victoria, said that while domestic matches would be shared between the MCG and the Junction Oval in future, the ground would also be up to international standard.
"It certainly has the capacity for international tournaments that come to Australia in future, perhaps in ICC T20 competition, which requires a suite of facilities," Dodemaide said. "Not all games need ... a large stadium of 100,000 capacity like the MCG. This will provide a boutique facility that complements tournaments like that."
Late last year, the new Victorian state government pledged funding to make the upgrade possible, and on Wednesday the new designs were unveiled as part of a community consultation process. James Sutherland, the CEO of Cricket Australia, said he was pleased to support the development of a new dedicated cricket facility in Victoria.
"Putting these designs forward for community consultation marks an important step forward in this project which create a world-class cricket hub, not only for the state and national players, but for grass roots clubs," Sutherland said.
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale