April 25, 2011

Adelaide Oval's identity crisis

By 2014 the historic South Australian ground is likely to become a stadium with vast stands and drop-in pitches. Will it retain a sense of its old self at all?
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First, a few facts. Pending a South Australian Cricket Association members' vote, Adelaide Oval is to be redeveloped significantly in time for 2014. The new ground will be ringed on three sides by vast stands, raising capacity from about 40,000 to 50,000. Room will be made by bulldozing the Sir Donald Bradman Stand, the south eastern hill and the eastern Chappell Stands, while the northern hill, the Moreton Bay Figs and the old scoreboard will remain. The Victor Richardson Gates will be pushed eastwards into the Creswell Gardens.

On the oval itself, the pitch square will be dug up and removed, replaced by drop-in wickets during the summer and football-friendly turf during the winter. The precinct will be augmented by the addition of a footbridge across the Torrens River, while sharp traffic restrictions will be put in place on match days to limit the expected bottleneck of cars. Total cost of this venture, excluding the footbridge, will be about A$535 million. The vote takes place on May 2.

Whether all this is exciting or horrifying depends very much on one's point of view.

Approached plainly, Adelaide Oval seems destined to end up a cousin of those major Australian cricket grounds to have undergone extensive redevelopments over the past decade. It has already been upgraded significantly, as the new Western Stand, opened in time for the 2010 Ashes Test, can readily attest. In the cases of the forbidding Gabba, the mighty MCG and the in-betweener SCG, each venue has retained some of its character despite losing either its pitch or its traditional views. Adelaide's great challenge will be to retain a sense of self while losing both.

Most accept the current pattern of development would remove the oval from a most exclusive circle of Test match grounds, all in the name of providing a suitable venue for Adelaide's two Australian Rules football clubs. Lost will be the intimacy Gideon Haigh summed up in One Summer, Every Summer, his account of the 1994-95 Ashes: "You could get lost in the catacombs of the MCG and SCG for weeks and not come up for air. Here you can say and mean it: 'I'll see you at the ground tomorrow'." After 2014, only Lord's and Newlands will remain among the most stately of international locales, as Adelaide Oval becomes, but for a few leafy metres at the northern end, Adelaide Stadium.

Ricky Ponting has articulated his sorrow about the end of Adelaide Oval "as we know it". He worked on the groundstaff in the early 1990s while part of the national cricket academy intake, and was nostalgic for nothing so much as the old members' benches he maintained as fastidiously as his batting technique. "I'm basically sad to see all those coloured seats go in the members' stand because when I was at the academy I changed every nut and bolt on those seats," Ponting said in 2009, shortly after the upgrade was first announced. "That was my job for the year, so I'm sad to see those go. It's sad to see the Adelaide Oval go as we know it. But it looks like it's going to turn into a fantastic stadium."

It is this change that has caused the most consternation among some of Adelaide's members, who must vote "yes" in an overwhelming 75% majority in order to amend the South Australia Cricket Association constitution. The constitutional adjustment would allow the new ground to be shared with football under the jurisdiction of the Stadium Management Authority, at a cost of temporary pitches and incalculable ambience. The possibility remains that the state government will still push the development through regardless, though a favourable vote would quicken the process. Sceptics reckon the public money to be funnelled into the oval should instead go towards building an all-purpose stadium elsewhere near the city, arguing it is a more logical way to replace the outmoded Football Park and so leave Adelaide Oval in its current state.

Most accept the current pattern of development would remove the oval from a most exclusive circle of Test match grounds, all in the name of providing a suitable venue for Adelaide's two Australian Rules football clubs. Lost will be the intimacy summed up by Gideon Haigh: "You could get lost in the catacombs of the MCG and SCG for weeks and not come up for air. Here you can say and mean it: 'I'll see you at the ground tomorrow'."

While it will be impossible to measure the number of naysayers until the vote itself, they have been drowned out in terms of volume by a powerful conglomerate of SACA, SANFL, two AFL clubs, the state government and the Advertiser, Adelaide's only daily newspaper. Missionary zeal does not come close to describing the intensity with which these groups have pushed for change, spruiking their wares in the manner of Benny Hinn, the television evangelist turned used-car salesman. At times, the truth appears to have been lost in the selling.

Greg Howe, ringleader of the "no" voters, built a rudimentary website at saveadelaideoval.com. To his great surprise, he soon discovered that the similar saveadelaideoval.com.au address diverted surfers to the redevelopment's far swankier homepage. Ian McLachlan, the SACA president, has gone as far as saying that Adelaide Oval risked losing its annual Test match if the upgrade does not go ahead, a view not shared by Cricket Australia. He and others have also stated, straight-faced, that drop-in pitches "will be necessary to ensure that cricket is provided with the best possible playing surface for the entire summer". Not even the hefty involvement of Les Burdett, the oval's popular groundsman for 31 years until he retired in 2010, can divert from the fact there remains no comparison between the qualities of a permanent wicket and a drop-in. Local league football has been played on the oval for years, without the need for digging. Footballers are commonly complimentary about the surface.

Debates over the future of the oval extend well beyond matters of concrete and turf. The very essence of Adelaide, and South Australia, is regarded by many to be at stake. A streak of conservatism has run through the state since its founding by an unholy marriage of Masonic English speculators and European religious refugees from 1836. This is epitomised by a lack of major development in Adelaide when placed against the changes seen in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. Test match visitors to Adelaide are typically seduced by the city's lack of hustle and bustle, yet that is precisely the kind of thing the government wishes to create by holding AFL matches in the city.

Among the more valuable voices, though little heard in this debate, are those of the state cricketers who will be taking part in most matches at the ground. The former batsman Greg Blewett has been used as a pro-spokesman by the SACA, while current South Australia players have largely allowed general sporting altruism to overrule any private misgivings about what may become of the pitch. Interstate combatants have been less enthusiastic, some shocked to discover the oval's wickets would become drop-ins.

One player, making note of the MCG's portable pitch, alluded to the hollow sound made whenever a paceman deigned to deliver a bouncer during a Sheffield Shield match at the ground. Whichever way the SACA members vote on May 2, some will be left feeling decidedly hollow about the result.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ygkd on April 28, 2011, 8:08 GMT

    I still don't think this will help SA cricket as much as it helps footy. I geniunely don't like seeing the Redbacks languishing towards the bottom of the Shield table (I was rather hoping they'd do much, much better last season). And it is not a matter of who was at the Ad. Oval first - cricket or football. Just that cricket doesn't need to be pushed off by footy. It even happens where I live. Football pre-season training starts before cricket has started finals and for some reason footy suddenly takes priority. I'm not against football and I understand the wider situation. Richmond, the team I support is in debt and shares a dual-purpose stadium too, I just don't see why footy always has to prevail. I was at the Ad. Oval recently and I rather thought that the sharing idea just won't work, mainly because there aren't enough months in the year to do both sports justice. I still think a separate stadium would be better.

  • Meety on April 28, 2011, 7:07 GMT

    I just thnk that IF the redevelopment includes a drop in pitch the standard of cricket in Sth Oz will drop too! Actually not just for Sth Oz, but Interstate teams will not be tested in the way in which they have for over 100yrs. Anyways - judging by the comments of Sth Ozzys - redevelopment will go ahead.

  • Meety on April 28, 2011, 6:59 GMT

    @Woody111/redneck - I'm not from Sth Oz, & only commented because I am passionate about CRICKET. I think the redvelopment would be good for circles outside of cricket. The idea that Adelaide is a road I think is a throwback to the 1980s. The Adelaide Oval I've always thought rewarded good bowling AND Good batting. I've always liked the way the pitch can deteriorate significantly over the last couple of days. For the asking price ($525m), I think your better off having another ground redeveloped. There has been a lot of development at the Oval over the last few years & I think that sum of money could get you an awesome stadium on a green field site! The G/Coast Suns Stadium (correct my earlier comment), costs between $110 & $144m for 25,000 seats (75% covered). My thing is for $500+m - you still just have 1 stadium, (with lost charm). Why not have 2 stadiums? (Genuinely don't know why other sites aren't an option).

  • KingofRedLions on April 28, 2011, 4:46 GMT

    Blame the SA Government.

  • Woody111 on April 28, 2011, 2:06 GMT

    As a SACA member I voted 'for' yesterday online knowing I will never feel good about it. The thought of drop in pitches makes my skin crawl but at least SACA has been upfront about that. I can only hope Les Burdett is genuine (ie not paid to comment in support) about the prospects of better drop ins relative to the past. I am not convinced as the MCG pitch has consistently been the worst test pitch for several years. BUT, the reason I voted 'for' was more to do with sport in this state; not just cricket. Adelaide just lost the rugby 7s, we have an archaic football stadium in West Lakes and have no option big enough for hosting soccer world cup games. A comment provided about the Adelaide Oval pitch being a road is valid. The problem with a drop in alternative in my view is that they have no pace, bounce or carry. The reason this is a problem is that it does not allow for good cricket for either the batting or bowing side. SACA; please make sure the pitch plays as it should!

  • redneck on April 27, 2011, 23:53 GMT

    @youngkeepersdad, by all means comment. everyones point is valid. what i was meaning is that people outside SA look at this as purely a cricket issue and like the adelaide oval as a specialist cricket ground. i do too, but not if its at the expense of adelaide not being able to host other sports and events. i love cricket but also love port adelaide. the way i see it cricket is going to be here regardless of what form the adelaide oval takes on, if this redevelopment doesnt happen in 10 years time port might not be. personly thats too bigger price to pay here in SA just to keep it as the cricket ground it currently is and to satisfy people interstate that would never come to adelaide anyway! the world may know adelaide oval as a cricket ground but it was hosting footy well before it staged its first test. and regarding the drop in pitch its no difference as adelaide was never a lively wicket anyway, if this were the gabba i would be alot more upset about it!

  • ygkd on April 27, 2011, 7:10 GMT

    Sorry Redneck, but I don't see why I shouldn't be able to comment. There is more to Victoria than Melbourne, and I rather think Adelaide is much more friendly, until you mention you're an easterner. It's that friendly (if-we-think-you're-one-of-us) atmosphere that will be lost. Besides, drop-in pitches really aren't the way forward for what is the best ground in the country. This redevelopment will help your Port Adelaide FC more than cricket. And if you think Adelaide is the forgotten Australia, try a small town a decent drive inland of any capital city. There is a bigger difference between city and country than between states, and you never know, one day I may well move to yours.

  • redneck on April 26, 2011, 23:59 GMT

    you have to love these non south australians commenting on our oval! espechally the other aussies on the eastern sea board which get everything falling into their laps! you guys dont understand we cant afford a new stadium, our footy clubs which are the heart and soul of the city are loosing money and are falling behind the victorian teams in terms of cashflow. our state cricket board is in debt they cant pay off and footy parks out in the sticks and falling apart. the only logical option is to renovate adelaide oval! as a cricket supporter it is sad to see the pitch turn drop in (but then it was a fair dead wicket anyway) and the whole reason its cost 500+ million to redo is so its done right and not on the cheep so it will still look nice! as a south aussie born and bread we miss out on so much (socceroos, wallabies etc) this state needs this to happen, and as a port supporter our club might fold if it doesnt! if that means another cement bowl for a cricket ground so be it!

  • on April 26, 2011, 15:15 GMT

    All for redeveloping the stands, but leave the pitch alone.

  • mightymf2000 on April 26, 2011, 8:13 GMT

    Keep the Oval as it is. It is perfectly fine so why change it? Anyway drop in wickets are terrible. Adelaide is one of THE best cricket grounds so SACA why agree to re delvoping it for Footy. I mean even though Spetember action isn't always there like the MCG AFL could destroy the ground.

  • ygkd on April 28, 2011, 8:08 GMT

    I still don't think this will help SA cricket as much as it helps footy. I geniunely don't like seeing the Redbacks languishing towards the bottom of the Shield table (I was rather hoping they'd do much, much better last season). And it is not a matter of who was at the Ad. Oval first - cricket or football. Just that cricket doesn't need to be pushed off by footy. It even happens where I live. Football pre-season training starts before cricket has started finals and for some reason footy suddenly takes priority. I'm not against football and I understand the wider situation. Richmond, the team I support is in debt and shares a dual-purpose stadium too, I just don't see why footy always has to prevail. I was at the Ad. Oval recently and I rather thought that the sharing idea just won't work, mainly because there aren't enough months in the year to do both sports justice. I still think a separate stadium would be better.

  • Meety on April 28, 2011, 7:07 GMT

    I just thnk that IF the redevelopment includes a drop in pitch the standard of cricket in Sth Oz will drop too! Actually not just for Sth Oz, but Interstate teams will not be tested in the way in which they have for over 100yrs. Anyways - judging by the comments of Sth Ozzys - redevelopment will go ahead.

  • Meety on April 28, 2011, 6:59 GMT

    @Woody111/redneck - I'm not from Sth Oz, & only commented because I am passionate about CRICKET. I think the redvelopment would be good for circles outside of cricket. The idea that Adelaide is a road I think is a throwback to the 1980s. The Adelaide Oval I've always thought rewarded good bowling AND Good batting. I've always liked the way the pitch can deteriorate significantly over the last couple of days. For the asking price ($525m), I think your better off having another ground redeveloped. There has been a lot of development at the Oval over the last few years & I think that sum of money could get you an awesome stadium on a green field site! The G/Coast Suns Stadium (correct my earlier comment), costs between $110 & $144m for 25,000 seats (75% covered). My thing is for $500+m - you still just have 1 stadium, (with lost charm). Why not have 2 stadiums? (Genuinely don't know why other sites aren't an option).

  • KingofRedLions on April 28, 2011, 4:46 GMT

    Blame the SA Government.

  • Woody111 on April 28, 2011, 2:06 GMT

    As a SACA member I voted 'for' yesterday online knowing I will never feel good about it. The thought of drop in pitches makes my skin crawl but at least SACA has been upfront about that. I can only hope Les Burdett is genuine (ie not paid to comment in support) about the prospects of better drop ins relative to the past. I am not convinced as the MCG pitch has consistently been the worst test pitch for several years. BUT, the reason I voted 'for' was more to do with sport in this state; not just cricket. Adelaide just lost the rugby 7s, we have an archaic football stadium in West Lakes and have no option big enough for hosting soccer world cup games. A comment provided about the Adelaide Oval pitch being a road is valid. The problem with a drop in alternative in my view is that they have no pace, bounce or carry. The reason this is a problem is that it does not allow for good cricket for either the batting or bowing side. SACA; please make sure the pitch plays as it should!

  • redneck on April 27, 2011, 23:53 GMT

    @youngkeepersdad, by all means comment. everyones point is valid. what i was meaning is that people outside SA look at this as purely a cricket issue and like the adelaide oval as a specialist cricket ground. i do too, but not if its at the expense of adelaide not being able to host other sports and events. i love cricket but also love port adelaide. the way i see it cricket is going to be here regardless of what form the adelaide oval takes on, if this redevelopment doesnt happen in 10 years time port might not be. personly thats too bigger price to pay here in SA just to keep it as the cricket ground it currently is and to satisfy people interstate that would never come to adelaide anyway! the world may know adelaide oval as a cricket ground but it was hosting footy well before it staged its first test. and regarding the drop in pitch its no difference as adelaide was never a lively wicket anyway, if this were the gabba i would be alot more upset about it!

  • ygkd on April 27, 2011, 7:10 GMT

    Sorry Redneck, but I don't see why I shouldn't be able to comment. There is more to Victoria than Melbourne, and I rather think Adelaide is much more friendly, until you mention you're an easterner. It's that friendly (if-we-think-you're-one-of-us) atmosphere that will be lost. Besides, drop-in pitches really aren't the way forward for what is the best ground in the country. This redevelopment will help your Port Adelaide FC more than cricket. And if you think Adelaide is the forgotten Australia, try a small town a decent drive inland of any capital city. There is a bigger difference between city and country than between states, and you never know, one day I may well move to yours.

  • redneck on April 26, 2011, 23:59 GMT

    you have to love these non south australians commenting on our oval! espechally the other aussies on the eastern sea board which get everything falling into their laps! you guys dont understand we cant afford a new stadium, our footy clubs which are the heart and soul of the city are loosing money and are falling behind the victorian teams in terms of cashflow. our state cricket board is in debt they cant pay off and footy parks out in the sticks and falling apart. the only logical option is to renovate adelaide oval! as a cricket supporter it is sad to see the pitch turn drop in (but then it was a fair dead wicket anyway) and the whole reason its cost 500+ million to redo is so its done right and not on the cheep so it will still look nice! as a south aussie born and bread we miss out on so much (socceroos, wallabies etc) this state needs this to happen, and as a port supporter our club might fold if it doesnt! if that means another cement bowl for a cricket ground so be it!

  • on April 26, 2011, 15:15 GMT

    All for redeveloping the stands, but leave the pitch alone.

  • mightymf2000 on April 26, 2011, 8:13 GMT

    Keep the Oval as it is. It is perfectly fine so why change it? Anyway drop in wickets are terrible. Adelaide is one of THE best cricket grounds so SACA why agree to re delvoping it for Footy. I mean even though Spetember action isn't always there like the MCG AFL could destroy the ground.

  • Meety on April 26, 2011, 8:07 GMT

    @Harvey - I agree & disagree with you. The Gabba is a great ground to WATCH cricket from, I use to go to the old GABBA & whilst its certainly not pretty now, I remember some very "unpretty" days fermenting in the sun. Was at the GABBA Day 3 during the Ashes. & it was very pleasant from square of the wicket you are still very close to the action! I agree re: comments about Adelaide Oval though! Just on attendance though, Brisbane is proving to be a very lucrative market for pulling in spectators. Part of the problem the GABBA has had is that it often doesn't get the High grossing tests. Haven't hosted Sth Africa since they have been re-admitted to Tests. ODIs involving Oz, sell out well in advance.

  • Biggus on April 26, 2011, 7:03 GMT

    @Meety-Those early '80s MCG pitches were shocking indeed. Forget not carrying...they were often running along the ground later in the game. Worst International strips I've ever seen.

  • Harvey on April 26, 2011, 6:56 GMT

    Adelaide Oval is the last venue in Australia where attendances for non-Ashes Test matches have consistently remained high. The fact that this is easily the most pleasant major ground in which to watch CRICKET (as opposed to football) is no coincidence. The MCG, SCG (to some extent), and Gabba have all been converted into football stadia, and are no longer conducive to watching cricket, other than maybe T20. I'm sure all these places are wonderful for watching AFL, but I'm not an AFL fan. I'm a cricket fan, and object to what is arguably the world's greatest cricket ground being turned into a football stadium.

  • Paynee on April 26, 2011, 5:59 GMT

    Not sure what 'heritage' will be destroyed by the new stands. With the figs and the old scoreboard being retained, the oldest structure that will be replaced will be the Bradman Stand. This stand was bult in the 1980's so, in its present form, its hardly a ground steeped in history. The new western stand is brilliant and has added to the Oval. Here's hoping the redevelopment adds even more.

  • Meety on April 26, 2011, 5:43 GMT

    @Biggus re: variety of pitches. Fully agree. When all pitches are at their best, (the Gabba wasn't this yr due to weather), AND including Darwin, Oz can provide the fairest location for a "Test Championship" or World Cup. There is a pitch for any quality player to thrive on. I remember the MCG strips of the late 70s & early 80s were dreadfull from about Lunch on Day 1 - balls not carrying, drop in pitches have worked there. The thing to me is that the MCG will host MOST of the finals football for AFL in September, (October in a replayed GF!). That means that Adelaide would have limited Football use from the end of the regular season (say late August). I believe with Spring well & truly on, there is no need as in Brisbane to have drop in pitches. The SCG is similar in that the pitch will have almost no September AFL action. Only non-cricket fans would support drop in pitches outside of the MCG, a pitch that is still probably the most bland in Oz!

  • Meety on April 26, 2011, 5:35 GMT

    @TD_160 - continued. Adelaide misses out by just having the Adelaide Oval. That being said Rugby would be better suited to the Oval then Oz rules with the current shape. @ Lees_Legends - for starters Magoffin was a QLDer!!!! Doh! 2ndly if Dorey is the BEST you can come up with jazzaaaaaaaa's point remains unbeaten, "...WA have not produced a tall quality fast bowler for 15 years..." Dorey got 2 wickets in 4 games with a S/R of 81! I liked him but mate he was VERY average! Of the other 3 main pacers they have at the moment (not including MJ a QLDer or Noffke another QLDer), Hogan is from NSW. Coulter-Niles & Duffield do have talent, & I'd like to see Coulter-Niles make some touring squads. The last HALF decent pace bowler WA produced was B Julien - & he was only JUST at Test standard. Brad Williams? Oh he was Victorian! Joe Angel? Read Julien. Bruce Reid - YES! But he finished his 1st class career in 96 & didn't play an International since 92.

  • Meety on April 26, 2011, 5:21 GMT

    @Biggus/ youngkeepersdad - the thing that astounds me is the price of the reno - $525m!!!! The G/Coast Suns AFL sides new stadium cost about $25m (not completely sure I think the AFL coughed up about half). Whilst this stadium probably is too small for a stronghold of AFL like Adelaide, but surely $100m on a Green Field site would be money better spent? @Something_Witty - I think that was more the case in the 1980s (+ the most recent Asdhes Test! LOL). Whilst it still favours the batsmen over the first 2 to 3 days, its notorious for cracking up & being up & down. I think a bowler like Watto or AB McDonald would be dangerous on the 5th day bowling there, (hopefully with plenty of runs to defend).@Mamidipudi Swaroop - you mean you wish we'd "...go the West Indies way..." no way brother!@TD_160 - why should Adelaide only have 1 world class stadium? Lets not forget that the Oz Wallabys are a big ticket item, they bring a lot of revenue to "non-rugby" cities like Melbourne & PerthTBC!

  • ygkd on April 25, 2011, 23:57 GMT

    I come from an old country town which decades ago "modernised". Now it's still much the same size - about the same size as many towns that rely on tourism. We can't keep the tourists here though, because we threw our heritage out in the '70s (most residents don't even know we ever had one). And modernisation didn't help us keep up with our neighbours (who we used to be bigger than) either, for now we are dwarfed by them. This Ad. Oval revamp is for footy, by footy and cricket can jollly-well pay - such is the prevailing attitude. And cricket will pay too. Long-form cricket needs a point-of-difference and its heritage is exactly that.

  • silly_mid_on on April 25, 2011, 22:18 GMT

    Don't let them do to Adelaide what they did to the Gabba. I spent the whole of the 1970s and 1980's at the Brisbane Cricket Ground, soaking up the atmosphere of the best place to watch cricket in the world. Then the Brisbane Lions came to town and the ground was destroyed. It now has as much atmoshere as Neptune.

  • MrArmchairCricket on April 25, 2011, 20:02 GMT

    There's nothing wrong with redeveloping the Adelaide Oval for AFL. Though I haven't lived in Adelaide, nor visited it, I'd imagine the Adelaide Oval is a damn sight easier to get to than West Lakes, which is the main reason that Port Adelaide especially cannot get a crowd to their games (well that, and they're rubbish).

    What is wrong though, is the idea of having drop in wickets for Adelaide. They never needed drop in wickets at the WACA, when the West Coast Eagles used it as their home ground, and the 'Gabba doesn't use drop in wickets either. The AFL and Cricket can co-exist, and have done for 130+ years.

  • SagirParkar on April 25, 2011, 17:37 GMT

    i am sad to hear this... although i never have been to Adelaide, i have always felt it to be the most beautiful cricket ground in the world... and not just pretty but also having a distinct character and soul of its own... but if they are to 'redevelop' it, then i better hurry and pay it a visit someday before the transformation begins... but if there is anyone listening who can make a difference, please leave Adelaide Oval as it is... why mend when it aint broke ?

  • gavin_fitzgerald on April 25, 2011, 13:50 GMT

    Adelaide guy here, and crickets my number one sport before AFL, so theres probably some bias but the developments that had been completed for the oval in time for the last summer of Ashes tests should be more than enough. For starters, the capacity at the first day of that test that England eventually won with ease was something like 45-50,000 people, a massive crowd for a test, Ashes or not. If I'm right the touring teams this coming summer are the Indians, which are usually good crowd-pullers and you'd like to think maybe another 35-40,000 crowd for day one there too. The rest of the test teams dont draw the same crowds, so for cricket 50,000 is more than enough capacity, especially if anyone has ever been to the MCG on the 4th or 5th day during their test when theres no atmosphere with a crowd of 20,000 spread across a colliseum! The 2 AFL teams have only on a handfull of occasions been able to fill its own stadium to capacity, with both sides crowd numbers dropping significantly!

  • SDHM on April 25, 2011, 11:57 GMT

    I've never been to the Adelaide Oval, but I've been to the MCG a couple of times on my jaunts down under, and I didn't like it at all - too big, soulless and lacking in any character. Just because it's huge doesn't make it a great ground. I hope Adelaide doesn't go down the same route - I'd much prefer to watch cricket in grounds full of character and charm than faceless modern sports complexes.

  • on April 25, 2011, 9:53 GMT

    To begin with I am from India and so a die hard cricket fan. When I was in India, I always heard that cricket is the number one sport in Australia(like India). But after coming to Sydney, I realized that its the football (Australia rules) that is the dominant sport here. Restructuring / revamping of the Adelaide Oval sounds another instance where football is over shadowing cricket in this country. The dominance of football also affected the cricket talent pool of the nation. Considering only a handful of countries play cricket, its of prime importance that strong cricketing nation like Australia, protects cricket and thwarts away all attempts of football taking over cricket. Adelaide Oval is a beautiful cricket ground and should be protected as a heritage. There should be a harmony between modernization and retaining heritage values.

  • evenflow_1990 on April 25, 2011, 8:43 GMT

    lol biggus you are a crack up =P

  • del_ on April 25, 2011, 8:08 GMT

    You fail to mention the $86 million debt that SACA can not rid itself of, or the extra $16 million there will be for South Australian cricket in each of the first two years, or that there is an independant estimate of an extra $111 million to the city/state each year. How about that Les Burdett (long considered the best curator in the world) endorses the use of drop in pitches on a multi purpose stadium, that the MCG has as good an ICC rating as Adelaide Oval and that most of the pitches have been replaced in the last few years anyway. In short, the marriage of AFL will be better for cricket (at all levels), AFL and South Australia. I consider myself a cricket supporter first, and a Crows fan second, but as a SACA member have already cast my vote online as a resounding YES.

  • on April 25, 2011, 8:07 GMT

    This is a joke of an article. Have you checked out the redevelopment of Lord's? It was brought into the 21st centuary, while still being able to retain its character. The same will be done with Adelaide Oval. In regards the drop in pitches, the most respected curaitor in the world, Les Burdett, has said that the pitch will be just as good even though it will be a drop in. The alternative is to leave the oval in its old worldly state going nowhere and limiting the amount of quality matches CA will allow at the oval, due to the small capacity. Anyone who votes no should have their membership cancelled so that those who want to see some progress don't have to put up with naysayers and enjoy state of the art facilities while leaving the character of the oval in tact!

  • Biggus on April 25, 2011, 7:57 GMT

    "Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got 'till it's gone, they paved paradise and put up a parking lot"-'Big Yellow Taxi'-Joni Mitchell. Sorry, it just seemed to fit.

  • Biggus on April 25, 2011, 7:22 GMT

    Hey guys, I just did the "Could you be India's next coach?" character test on page 2. My result was, "Mr Chappell, please, you've done enough for Indian cricket. No more, no more.".....Almost wet myself laughing. Still giggling manically as I write.

  • Lees_Legends on April 25, 2011, 7:02 GMT

    @jazzaaaaaaaa: There are quality fast bowlers from WA, they just never get picked for Australian sides because selectors prefer halfway bowlers from VIC and NSW (Pattinson, Hazlewood, Starc). Players like Maggoffin and Dorey have long since given up because they weren't given a go.

    Agree with everything else thooo

  • Biggus on April 25, 2011, 6:55 GMT

    I'd be disappointed to lose the wicket at the Adelaide oval and don't view the fact that it's a batsman's strip as a problem. One of the great things about a Test series down under is the variety of pitches. A seamer at the Gabba, Hard and fast in Perth, a turner at the SCG, and a batsman's pitch in Adelaide plus the enigmatic MCG strip, which has been a bit of a problem even before the advent of drop ins. Add Bellerive which is somewhat 'English' and there you have a real 'Test' of a touring team, not to mention the players in the domestic comp, who must benefit from the diversity. A regular boxed set, one of everything, show us what you've got! Perfect! Regarding the outer they took so much time and care with the redevelopment thus far, with retracting lights and tasteful stands that this subsequent rush seems almost indecent. I'm with Meety on this one. Nick off Footy, and leave the anachronistic gem that is Adelaide Oval alone.

  • on April 25, 2011, 6:41 GMT

    Wont be surprised if Australia go the West Indies way...

  • KP_84 on April 25, 2011, 6:38 GMT

    Let's get this straight: your complaining about Adelaide getting a world class sporting stadium? You've gotta be kidding! You'd only get this from a cricket fan! It's not as though the current Adelaide Oval is unique to Adelaide - it's basically a knock-off of The Oval in Kensington, London. It was also with Australia's ultimately unsuccessful bid for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in mind that this renovation of the Adelaide Oval began. Can't wait to see footy and cricket at the new venue!

  • vinjoy on April 25, 2011, 6:31 GMT

    I will be sad if the ground does not retain its traditional feel and charm. I remember Martin Crowe's words when he said that two things are mandatory in life of a cricketer - taxes and a test hundred at Adelaide. Cricketers have always enjoyed it, ask Dravid, Azhar or Lara. I wish the Administrators ensure that the traditionals are retained for purists.

  • Meety on April 25, 2011, 5:57 GMT

    In the case of the Gabba, the Pitch has still got its charactor even though the Grand stands have no soul. In the end of the day - Adelaide probably does need to increase the capacity of the Oval - that being said, it doesn't always sell out, & its population base is behind Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane & Perth. So it probably doesn't need too big of an increase. The question for the sake of an extra 10,000 capacity does the Oval have to be destroyed? Drop in pitches suck. The MCG has the WORST pitch in Oz. The Adelaide Oval is a good cricket wicket, at its best there is something in it for Pace & spin bowlers & the first 3 days are some of the best bvatting conditions in Oz. So far, redevelopment of Adelaide Oval appears to be tasteful. Why do they have to throw that all away? Also for $500m, they should be able to build FIVE stadiums! Does concrete cost more in Sth Oz? LOL! Its bad enough we have a dog of a wicket at the MCG because of AFL - no more please! Port & Crows build ya own!!!

  • jazzaaaaaaaa on April 25, 2011, 4:34 GMT

    Another case of Australian rules football destroying other sports, in particular cricket. We have already seen what AFL has done to the talent pool in Adelaide and Perth. WA have not produced a tall quality fast bowler for 15 years and they now rely on journeymen from interstate.SA have not had a quality side for the same period, half of their side are also journeymen. This has coincided with West Coast joining the AFL in 87, Fremantle joining in 95, Adelaide joining the competition in 91 and Port Adelaide joining in 97. NSW and Vic are the only states with AFL teams (And NRL teams in NSW) producing quality cricketers and that is because they have the two largest populations to cope, Tas won the Sheffield Shield and they do not have an AFL team.

    AFL instigated drop in pitches at the MCG, they are now pressing to have them at the Gabba and the SCG as well. We all know the uniqueness of those pitches, to bring in drop in pitches to Adelaide as well Aus cricket will go back further.

  • Something_Witty on April 25, 2011, 3:46 GMT

    I was born in Adelaide but I have never particularly liked the Adelaide Oval. The ground itself is quite pretty but the pitches that have been produced there make for the most boring and tedious of runfests. The ironic thing is that drop-in pitches might actually have more life in them than the normal Adelaide wicket.

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  • Something_Witty on April 25, 2011, 3:46 GMT

    I was born in Adelaide but I have never particularly liked the Adelaide Oval. The ground itself is quite pretty but the pitches that have been produced there make for the most boring and tedious of runfests. The ironic thing is that drop-in pitches might actually have more life in them than the normal Adelaide wicket.

  • jazzaaaaaaaa on April 25, 2011, 4:34 GMT

    Another case of Australian rules football destroying other sports, in particular cricket. We have already seen what AFL has done to the talent pool in Adelaide and Perth. WA have not produced a tall quality fast bowler for 15 years and they now rely on journeymen from interstate.SA have not had a quality side for the same period, half of their side are also journeymen. This has coincided with West Coast joining the AFL in 87, Fremantle joining in 95, Adelaide joining the competition in 91 and Port Adelaide joining in 97. NSW and Vic are the only states with AFL teams (And NRL teams in NSW) producing quality cricketers and that is because they have the two largest populations to cope, Tas won the Sheffield Shield and they do not have an AFL team.

    AFL instigated drop in pitches at the MCG, they are now pressing to have them at the Gabba and the SCG as well. We all know the uniqueness of those pitches, to bring in drop in pitches to Adelaide as well Aus cricket will go back further.

  • Meety on April 25, 2011, 5:57 GMT

    In the case of the Gabba, the Pitch has still got its charactor even though the Grand stands have no soul. In the end of the day - Adelaide probably does need to increase the capacity of the Oval - that being said, it doesn't always sell out, & its population base is behind Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane & Perth. So it probably doesn't need too big of an increase. The question for the sake of an extra 10,000 capacity does the Oval have to be destroyed? Drop in pitches suck. The MCG has the WORST pitch in Oz. The Adelaide Oval is a good cricket wicket, at its best there is something in it for Pace & spin bowlers & the first 3 days are some of the best bvatting conditions in Oz. So far, redevelopment of Adelaide Oval appears to be tasteful. Why do they have to throw that all away? Also for $500m, they should be able to build FIVE stadiums! Does concrete cost more in Sth Oz? LOL! Its bad enough we have a dog of a wicket at the MCG because of AFL - no more please! Port & Crows build ya own!!!

  • vinjoy on April 25, 2011, 6:31 GMT

    I will be sad if the ground does not retain its traditional feel and charm. I remember Martin Crowe's words when he said that two things are mandatory in life of a cricketer - taxes and a test hundred at Adelaide. Cricketers have always enjoyed it, ask Dravid, Azhar or Lara. I wish the Administrators ensure that the traditionals are retained for purists.

  • KP_84 on April 25, 2011, 6:38 GMT

    Let's get this straight: your complaining about Adelaide getting a world class sporting stadium? You've gotta be kidding! You'd only get this from a cricket fan! It's not as though the current Adelaide Oval is unique to Adelaide - it's basically a knock-off of The Oval in Kensington, London. It was also with Australia's ultimately unsuccessful bid for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in mind that this renovation of the Adelaide Oval began. Can't wait to see footy and cricket at the new venue!

  • on April 25, 2011, 6:41 GMT

    Wont be surprised if Australia go the West Indies way...

  • Biggus on April 25, 2011, 6:55 GMT

    I'd be disappointed to lose the wicket at the Adelaide oval and don't view the fact that it's a batsman's strip as a problem. One of the great things about a Test series down under is the variety of pitches. A seamer at the Gabba, Hard and fast in Perth, a turner at the SCG, and a batsman's pitch in Adelaide plus the enigmatic MCG strip, which has been a bit of a problem even before the advent of drop ins. Add Bellerive which is somewhat 'English' and there you have a real 'Test' of a touring team, not to mention the players in the domestic comp, who must benefit from the diversity. A regular boxed set, one of everything, show us what you've got! Perfect! Regarding the outer they took so much time and care with the redevelopment thus far, with retracting lights and tasteful stands that this subsequent rush seems almost indecent. I'm with Meety on this one. Nick off Footy, and leave the anachronistic gem that is Adelaide Oval alone.

  • Lees_Legends on April 25, 2011, 7:02 GMT

    @jazzaaaaaaaa: There are quality fast bowlers from WA, they just never get picked for Australian sides because selectors prefer halfway bowlers from VIC and NSW (Pattinson, Hazlewood, Starc). Players like Maggoffin and Dorey have long since given up because they weren't given a go.

    Agree with everything else thooo

  • Biggus on April 25, 2011, 7:22 GMT

    Hey guys, I just did the "Could you be India's next coach?" character test on page 2. My result was, "Mr Chappell, please, you've done enough for Indian cricket. No more, no more.".....Almost wet myself laughing. Still giggling manically as I write.

  • Biggus on April 25, 2011, 7:57 GMT

    "Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got 'till it's gone, they paved paradise and put up a parking lot"-'Big Yellow Taxi'-Joni Mitchell. Sorry, it just seemed to fit.