(Photo: Getty Images)
By Adam Ellis
New Zealand Cricket are aiming to drop Eden Park as a Test venue and pursue the building of a new stadium for cricket in the country’s most populous city, Auckland.
Looking to move their Test schedule to the Auckland suburb of Western Springs, NZ Cricket chief executive David White was confident a proposed new stadium could be ready to host the ICC Women’s World Cup in 2021.
The 50,000-capacity Eden Park has been rendered unviable by the governing body, with White saying, “We’ve had some fantastic fixtures at Eden Park but it’s a very large stadium and it does cost money to open it. You can’t run games at a loss.
“The security, cleaning, traffic management plan, makes it a challenge for us to play test matches and smaller international fixtures there. That’s the reality. Therefore we haven’t played as much test cricket as we would have liked in our biggest populated area.”
Turned off by the sizeable hire cost, the Blackcaps seem destined to have played their last match at Eden Park after 88 years of Test history.
In dialogue with Auckland Council, White is just waiting on receiving the go-ahead for a new purpose-built stadium to be constructed after presenting a proposal.
“We’re told it could be up and running by 2021 which would be a fantastic outcome,” White commented, with the Women’s World Cup on the horizon.
“They’ve come up with a proposal to have a ground at Western Springs, capacity 20,000 although that could be scaled up or scaled down. A big oval, grass embankment and a natural amphitheatre which is appealing, and we think that’s a good solution for the city and for cricket.”
Eden Park hosted the Blackcaps first day-night Test against England in February, and White added that the new Western Springs stadium would have floodlight facilities and perhaps the opportunity to move their headquarters there.