Morrison pushes Wellington's World Cup bid

HAMISH BIDWELL
Last updated 05:00 26/02/2013

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It will be a few months before those behind Wellington's bid to host 2015 Cricket World Cup matches know if yesterday's whistle-stop tour was successful.

Representatives from the International Cricket Council, the World Cup's local organising committee and broadcaster ESPN visited Westpac Stadium, the Basin Reserve and Karori Park yesterday, as part of a nationwide inspection of playing and training facilities.

The city council is fronting Wellington's application, with assistance from Cricket Wellington.

Tournament organisers have been reluctant to discuss when match and practice venues will be confirmed or exactly how games will be shared between co-hosts New Zealand and Australia.

But council sport portfolio leader John Morrison said Westpac Stadium should figure prominently when the tournament begins in February 2015.

"It's a damn sight better than Eden Park and playing on a postage stamp, isn't it?" Morrison said yesterday.

"It's a lovely surface, probably one of the best around in Australasia. It's a floodlit ground, so obviously suitable for day-night cricket, it's got excellent capacity, a bloody good pitch and good sensible boundaries.

"I've got no hesitation in saying that. We know the Basin Reserve is a magnificent cricket ground, but it's got a limited capacity. Maybe 10,000 at a real push.

"We are presenting the fact that we have got two very good cricket grounds: one with day-night capabilities and the other probably the best cricket ground in the country. We are hopeful of both being used."

Cricket Wellington chief executive Peter Clinton said the Basin Reserve had been proposed as both a playing and practice venue, with Karori Park another potential training ground.

Clinton felt a pre-tournament warm-up match might present the Basin's best chance of hosting a game, although Morrison felt a minor pool game "where they won't exactly be banging the door down to get in" might also suit the ground.

Auckland's Eden Park, Seddon Park in Hamilton and Napier's McLean Park are the other venues regularly used to host international day-night cricket in New Zealand, besides Westpac Stadium.

Morrison was confident this city's ground stood up well in comparison.

"We're jostling with the others at the moment . . . and now the inspection's done they'll go away and consider our application.

"We're happy that we've done what we need to do and we're hopeful that we'll get a good roll of the dice."

Contact Hamish Bidwell
Sports reporter
Email: hamish.bidwell@dompost.co.nz

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