Wellington - New Zealand Cricket says it favours developing
a new Test venue in Auckland because Eden Park, which has hosted Test matches
for 88 years, is no longer financially viable.
Chief executive David White said Eden Park will not host a
Test when Sri Lanka and Bangladesh tour next year and NZC hopes to see a former
speedway track, Western Springs, become the new international cricket venue in
New Zealand's biggest city.
Eden Park was a venue in New Zealand's first Test series in
1930, hosted the match against the West Indies in which New Zealand claimed its
first Test win in 1956, hosted a semi-final of the 2015 Cricket World Cup and
earlier this year was the venue for New Zealand's first day-night Test.
But in a submission to the Auckland Council, as part of its
venue development strategy, White said it was a "challenge
financially" to stage Test matches at Eden Park and it would likely not be
awarded Tests until an alternative venue in Auckland could be found.
"Auckland is currently missing out significantly on
international cricket exposure due, primarily, to the lack of a cost-effective,
financially-viable venue," White said. "Eden Park, the only
ICC-sanctioned arena in New Zealand's most populous city, is unaffordable for
all but the biggest and, by definition, the rarest of international cricket
"Additionally, Eden Park's small size and rectangular,
football-shaped playing field continually risks compromising the integrity of
cricket matches hosted there."
White said those were the reasons the Auckland has hosted
just three Test matches since 2006, and the number of one-day internationals
and T20 internationals played in the city "has been a mere fraction of
what it would be were it to offer a fit-for-purpose, international-standard
New Zealand Cricket, he said, hopes to see Western Springs
developed into "a full-sized, oval-shaped playing arena, able to cater for
both small and large crowds in a relaxed, grass-banked, more cricket-centric