New Zealand news June 1, 2011

Auckland lobbying for Tests at Eden Park

ESPNcricinfo staff

Auckland Cricket is lobbying hard for Test cricket to return to Eden Park after having not had a Test match there since 2006. Auckland Cricket chief executive Andre Eade said he hoped New Zealand Cricket would change or make an exception to their policy of playing Test cricket at smaller, boutique grounds.

Auckland's domestic side will return to Eden Park outer oval at the start of the 2012-13 season, after having shifted to Colin Maiden Park in 2006 because the whole of Eden Park was undergoing renovation before the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Auckland Cricket were hoping to make the outer oval a Test venue but after the Eden Park Trust Board said they did not think it was financially viable to bring it up to Test standards, Auckland Cricket are now hoping to see Tests return to the main Eden Park ground.

"Now we are coming back to the outer oval and Eden Park has indicated it can't develop it in the immediate future, our position becomes simpler," Eade told the New Zealand Herald. "We don't think it's satisfactory for Auckland not to have Test cricket. So there's no alternative but for NZC to reconsider its policy, or grant an exemption to its policy.

"We're lobbying very hard - for commercial and population-basis reasons - that it is wrong there aren't any Tests here."

After 2006-07, NZC decided to shift Tests away from traditional, larger venues like Eden Park, which has hosted 47 Tests, and the AMI stadium in Christchurch, which has hosted 40, to smaller stadiums as they felt crowds for Test cricket weren't substantial enough to fill the bigger grounds. NZC chief Justin Vaughan said they still believed smaller grounds were more suited to Test cricket but they were mindful that New Zealand's two biggest cities hadn't hosted a Test in over four years.

"The board has committed to reviewing the policy on international matches in the next few months," Vaughan said. "We believe hosting Tests at boutique grounds is the best way to present Test cricket with its size and environs, but we're also very mindful that we don't have a Test venue in the two biggest cities in New Zealand."

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  • bharat on June 4, 2011, 14:04 GMT

    eden park's floodlights have also been changed...the t20 and odi games agaisnt pak earlier this year were played as day games. Will there be day/night matches at eden park in the future?? are the new lights only good for rugby games?? curious to know..

  • Dennis on June 3, 2011, 6:42 GMT

    Rather drive to Hamilton than sit in that concrete jungle an watch cricket

  • Dion on June 2, 2011, 14:35 GMT

    The smaller ovals are just better as they look nicer (even on TV) and the crowds would prefer to go to a smaller venue than a 3/4 empty stadium

  • Nick on June 2, 2011, 0:20 GMT

    I live in Auckland and I don't believe we deserve test cricket. No one who enjoys a good test would want to watch a game in those match-box sized fields with sparse crowds.

    NZ cricket should be looking at making The Bay Oval (Tauranga's domestic ground) a test venue. It's has large boundaries (may even be the largest in NZ), picturesque grass embankments and during the summer there are more Aucklanders in Tauranga than there are left in Auckland!

    In 2010 for a domestic 20/20 game The Bay Oval hosted a record 17,000 people over the three games that were played there. NZ cricket are dreaming if they believe they will get a higher number than that in Eden Park during the summer.

  • Paul on June 1, 2011, 21:03 GMT

    Im not against tests returning to Auckland or Christchurch, but Eden Park and AMI stadium are poor cricket grounds. Only dedicated cricket grounds should host test matches, a big empty stadium cant beat the Basin, Seddon Park or University Oval. My opinion is that the upgrades for the rugby world cup have also turned McLean Park in Napier from a multi sport ground to a "rugby" ground.

  • Lauren on June 1, 2011, 11:08 GMT

    If Auckland can get enough people to a test at eden park so as not to make a loss, let them have it..however we do all know this is not going to happen...

  • Ash on June 1, 2011, 10:28 GMT

    So what is the plan for getting people new to the game (especially kids) in Auckland excited about Test Cricket?

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