Image courtesy of: Zimbio
The fourth ODI between New Zealand and South Africa was originally scheduled to be held at McLean Park in Napier, but it has been shifted to Seddon Park in Hamilton.
According to New Zealand Cricket (NZC), the move was necessary as an investigation conducted by he Napier City Council into the abandonment of the second ODI between New Zealand and Australia earlier this month “highlighted a need for urgent remedial work on the venue’s turf, drainage, and irrigation system”.
As a result, NZC believe it is “in the best interests of McLean Park’s cricketing future” to move the fourth ODI to Hamilton as another drainage issue will be nothing short of a disaster.
“There have been shortcomings identified in McLean Park’s drainage and irrigation system which need to be remedied before we can be confident of avoiding what happened in the Chappell-Hadlee fixture,” NZC chief operating officer, Anthony Crummy, said. “The investigation concludes that drought conditions in the Hawke’s Bay necessitated significant levels of watering in the days leading up to the match which, combined with a limited drainage infrastructure and rain on match-day, resulted in a worst-case scenario.
“It’s true, several measures could be employed to help mitigate this risk ahead of the South Africa match but, even then, any period of significant or extended rain in the lead-up would likely result in the same outcome. NZC, the Central Districts Cricket Association and the NCC agree this risk is unacceptable.”
The Napier City Council are willing to spend $900,000 to upgrade the ground, which will include replacing the playing surface, and installing a new drainage and irrigation system.
“By doing this, we can look forward with confidence to McLean Park hosting next summer’s ODIs between the Black Caps and England, and the Black Caps and Pakistan,” Crummy said.
Napier Mayor Bill Dalton added: “In essence, we have a fantastic ground in a superb location but the turf is old and has deteriorated dramatically in the face of the recent drought conditions in the Hawke’s Bay. There are issues with the organic matter beneath the surface of the ground – issues we didn’t know about and are now urgently dealing with.”