Basin Reserve improvements bearing fruit

MARK GEENTY
Last updated 05:00 25/07/2013

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The Basin Reserve Trust has welcomed news the iconic ground is poised to host two of New Zealand's five home cricket tests this summer.

New Zealand Cricket has drawn up a draft schedule which has the Basin hosting one of three West Indies tests in mid-December and one of two India tests in early February.

Basin Reserve Trust member and Wellington City councillor John Morrison expects good news when the venues are announced.

"We've been negotiating with NZC and we have for a number of years pushed for more than one test [per season] because we are a cricket specific ground," he said.

"NZC still have to confirm [the schedule], but that's our understanding and we're very happy with that."

Getting a "marquee" test against India in February was a great result, Morrison said, as the weather would hopefully be more reliable than Wellington's usual test match allocation in mid-to-late March.

Big-hitting West Indies batsman Chris Gayle's presence for the December test would also be a big selling point.

"It might be dangerous driving down Adelaide Rd, but Gayle would be a huge drawcard."

The Basin Reserve Trust shelled out on improvements to the ground last year to keep up with NZC's demands, including ripping up the outfield to install new drainage, and enlarging the dressing rooms under the R A Vance Stand. The test pitch retains its reputation as the best in the country.

The only improvement required is New Zealand's test results at their premier venue. They haven't won in their past seven visits to the Basin, and last time they played dual tests there, in 2009-10, they lost to Pakistan and Australia.

Wellington is also expected to host one of the five West Indies ODIs, in early January, at Westpac Stadium.

Dunedin's University Oval and Hamilton's Seddon Park are likely to be confirmed as hosts of the other two West Indies tests in December, while Hamilton is favoured to pip Auckland's Eden Park for the other India test in February.

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- The Dominion Post

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