February 11, 2009

New Zealand cricket

The battle of the Basin

Jamie Alter

The once natural sun trap which provided shelter from New Zealand's notorious southerly winds to cricket fans on the grass bank at the eastern side of the Basin Reserve is in danger. The peaceful spot at 'The Basin', as Wellingtonians refer to it, may be disturbed by honking cars and exhaust fumes, if Wellington's administrators have their way.

Anyone with even a passing interest in cricket in New Zealand knows that the Basin Reserve, the gift of nature, is the best cricket ground in the country. But not so Wellington's pen-pushers, who have proposed to build a concrete flyover over the northern face of the ground, apparently to connect the second Mt Victoria tunnel that will lessen traffic jams that often occur at the one lane road in the course of the mountain.

Per the 1873 Deed of Trust which endows the ground to the people of the city, no thoroughfare was to be built across the ground. During the 1990s, it was discovered the actual boundary of the ground was one lane out on the road that encircles the ground. Since then, the venue's custodians have been tempted to solve the problems associated with increasing traffic usage in the city.

This could the most radical move yet, prompting the phrase "car-crash cricket".

Jamie Alter is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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