New Zealand news June 23, 2011

Cobham Oval approved as an international venue

ESPNcricinfo staff

Cobham Oval in Whangarei has become the latest addition to the rota of international cricket venues, benefiting from a push within New Zealand Cricket (NZC) to play Tests at specialist cricket grounds.

While limited-overs and Twenty20 matches are largely the preserve of stadiums like Eden Park in Auckland, NZC has pursued the use of more traditional venues for Test cricket in recent times, meaning an increase in the number of Tests for grounds like Wellington's Basin Reserve.

Whangarei's venue falls neatly within those parameters, with additional upgrade work having been done to appease the ICC match referee Alan Hurst when he made his inspection of the ground earlier this year.

The ground was used for its maiden first-class fixture in March 2009, and has hosted eight in total, in addition to a tour match between Pakistan and a New Zealand Invitational XI in January 2011.

Gary Bell, the chief executive of Northland Cricket, said the development of the ground had been done with plenty of care.

"We are delighted to have gained ICC approval to host international cricket," said Bell. "A lot of hard work has gone into the ground including creating a separate players' pavilion with more space and comfort.

"One large piece of work was increasing the grass net area and using the soil to reshape the embankment to increase capacity to 5,500. The decision is not only great for Northland Cricket but the region in general with additional visitors attracted to the region once we start hosting events."

New Zealand are scheduled to host Zimbabwe for two Test matches and three ODIs in January 2012.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Michael on June 23, 2011, 22:43 GMT

    Great move by New Zealand Cricket. Good weather combined with a great ground will provide excellent possibilities for test cricket in Whangarei. To the Aucklanders complaining, jump in your car and drive two measly hours to watch the game. To chokkashokka, keep you eye out for news on Sachin learning how to tie his shoe laces.

  • Dummy4 on June 23, 2011, 14:37 GMT

    Disgraceful that nothing is being done to bring test cricket back to Auckland

  • Ryan on June 23, 2011, 10:48 GMT

    Here's why I think this is a terrible move: 1. first you have to get test matches in New Zealand; 2. we already have enough adequate test grounds that deserve more matches, i.e. University Oval (Dunedin), Basin Reserve (Wellington) and Seddon Park (Hamilton). Three is enough as we only get that many per year (Napier should be avoided until they improve their god damn pitch); 3. Whangarei's population is small compared to other cities, even Tauranga would be better suited.

  • Dummy4 on June 23, 2011, 9:25 GMT

    Great, another test how bout some tests?? How pathetic is a 2 test series?? Not to mention the 1 test series we've had in the past. Is it any wonder why we suck at tests??

  • Thank You on June 23, 2011, 8:13 GMT

    just what exactly makes this newsworthy? waste of space

  • christy on June 23, 2011, 7:35 GMT

    good stuff to have test cricket at grounds specifically for test cricket as the ambiance at the basin is wonderful, however will people really go to test cricket in whangarei

  • Gordon on June 23, 2011, 7:17 GMT

    Excellent move by NZC. The policy of having tests only in proper cricket venues is a great one. Whangarei, along with Hamilton, should easily be able to accomodate the lack of an Auckland venue.

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