Renovation complete, Basin Reserve's ready

HAMISH BIDWELL
Last updated 05:00 14/12/2012
Basin Reserve
CHRIS SKELTON/ Fairfax NZ

The Basin Reserve outfield renovations are complete on time for the venue's first cricket match of the summer.

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Its outfield renovation complete, the Basin Reserve will host its first match of the summer, as scheduled, on Boxing Day.

Aside from the main wicket block and some practice pitches, the playing surface at the ground was dug up in August and a state-of-the-art drainage system installed, to ensure the Basin remained fit to host international cricket.

The re-sown grass has taken well and now attention has turned to preparing a pitch for Wellington's Twenty20 clash with Central Districts on Boxing Day.

The Firebirds have been forced to play home matches at Westpac Stadium and Karori Park in recent weeks, but are now almost ready to return to their spiritual home, says Cricket Wellington chief executive Peter Clinton.

"Clearly there's a deep affinity for the Basin for a lot of people, particularly cricket supporters.

"I should think that they'll all be wanting to come down in the summer and sit on the embankment and enjoy the games," he said.

"Everyone I'm talking to is really looking forward to Boxing Day, in particular.

"It seems like it could be a wonderful opportunity to get a good crowd if we have some nice weather."

In Jesse Ryder, the Firebirds possess the country's form batsman.

But with CD being Wellington's opponent on Boxing Day, Clinton hoped the match could also feature the comeback to cricket of discarded Black Caps captain Ross Taylor.

"It'll be great to see him playing cricket at all.

"If he happens to be available and wants to play on Boxing Day, I'm sure the Wellington crowd would show their support and we'd certainly love to see him here."

"But that's a decision for Ross Taylor and CD."

Despite the new drainage system at the ground, the shadow cast by the RA Vance Stand does remain something of an issue. Clinton said water shouldn't pool on the outfield beneath it, as it used to, but the area will be flooded early next month just to gauge how quickly it does drain.

The only change to the playing surface that eagle-eyes might note, is that half of the practice wickets in the south-western corner of the ground have been removed.

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