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."