Auckland’s Eden Park might be scrapped as an international cricket venue because of its high rental cost, and New Zealand Cricket (NZC) is looking for an alternate “fit-for-purpose” venue, wrote David White, the NZC chief executive, in a submission to the Auckland Council on Tuesday, May 22.
Eden Park has been one of the most prominent cricket centres in New Zealand, hosting international cricket since 1930. With a capacity of over 40,000, Eden Park is a multi-sport venue that has hosted rugby matches – union and league – along with football and cricket.
But the stadium has hosted only nine Tests since 2000, and just three since 2006.
“Auckland is currently missing out significantly on international cricket exposure due, primarily, to the lack of a cost-effective, financially-viable venue,” wrote White. “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 fixtures.
“For this reason, 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 cricket ground.”
The Eden Park’s shape, a rectangular football-sized field, is also one of the concerns for NZC, as it “continually risks compromising the integrity of cricket matches hosted there”.
White said that the Western Springs stadium in the city could be turned 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 surrounding”.