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October 8, 2012 | by  | in Features | [ssba]

Preparing for 2015

Cricket’s not what it was.

The Blacks Caps aren’t the only ones who need to lift their game ahead of the 2015 Cricket World Cup—New Zealand does too.We’re co-hosting the event with Australia, but just how prepared are we?

In exactly three years’ time, the opening matches of the 2015 Cricket World Cup will be underway, and half of the matches will be played on our shores.

In Wellington alone, we’ve got an on-going debate around a State Highway 1 flyover running adjacent to the park, an earthquake prone stand that’s supposed to have been demolished and replaced by now to make room for the Barmy Army this summer.At least they’re upgrading the playing surface, even if that means our Firebirds will be playing First Class cricket at Karori Park instead. It’s also worth asking if the Basin will feature in the World Cup or if all our matches will be at the Caketin. Hell, will it even be pleasant watching cricket in October in Wellington?

Auckland is persisting with Eden Park, despite its boundaries being far too short and anything but oval. Cricket at both Eden Park and Westpac Stadium will see drop in pitches heavily used and will require rescheduling for the ITM Cup and A-League—unless they try to accommodate the other codes. If that is the case, expect poor quality playing surfaces.The groundsmen are already facing an uphill battle with October cricket, football and rugby ripping up the grass isn’t going to be doing them any favours.

And then we have Christchurch.Will our third largest city miss out on hosting another major event due to infrastructure? I would like to imagine some of the issues that prevented them from partaking in the 2011 Rugby World Cup will be resolved by then. Hotels, cafes, bars and restaurants should be at an adequate level to support traveling teams and fans, but where will they play? The tour of England this summer is bypassing the city and when South Africa played a warm up Twenty20 match against Canterbury, Hagley Park was used.The government stumped up the cash to build a temporary rugby stadium in the city.The shift of rugby and cricket away from Carisbrook to Forsyth Barr and University Oval respectively also raises questions. University Oval is a small ground with a capacity of 6000. The big winners at the 2015World Cup looks likely to be Hamilton and Napier, with proper ovals and the stands to match.The country, on a whole, seems to be apathetic about hosting the 2015 World Cup—or even cricket in general. The Twenty20 World Cup wasn’t exactly sending Kiwis into raptures.

Let’s not forget the last time we were supposed to co-host a major event with Australia.We didn’t get ourselves organised and had to relinquish the rights. Hopefully we don’t make that mistake again. ▲


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