Napier's McLean Park is set to trial a drop-in pitch over the coming season, in a bid to convert the cricket ground into a multipurpose venue, the Dominion Post has reported.
According to the report, the Napier City Council has approved funds worth NZ$1 million to have a drop-in pitch trialled in domestic cricket over the 2016-17 summer. If the trials go well, the plan is to have the entire square removed and replaced with drop-in pitches, to allow the ground to also host rugby, A-league football games, concerts and other events without lengthy breaks to take care of the cricket surfaces. Floodlights suited to day-night Tests are also part of the plans.
"The cricket wicket dominates the preparation for the ground prior to summer and restricts [its use] during summer," NCC event manager Kevin Murphy was quoted as saying. "So over that period we would generally not be able to use the park for much else.
"[For now] you've got six or seven rugby games and a few cricket games and it doesn't really get utilised during the other parts of the year. But if there's no cricket block in there at all and we're just dropping wickets in, we've got the ability to look at football, concerts and whatever else that might come along."
In 2016-17, Napier is scheduled to host one Twenty20 against Bangladesh, and ODIs against Australia and South Africa. The following season, it is pencilled in for ODIs against Pakistan and England.