No-ball call for Lincoln
New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White has ruled out suggestions Lincoln University could be used as a potential base for first-class and test cricket in the region.
Television commentator Simon Doull yesterday called the Bert Sutcliffe Oval "magnificent" and backed test cricket being played there.
"It's a beautiful oval, it's got lovely grass banks; it's a wonderful venue," Doull said on air during the opening day of the first test between New Zealand and the West Indies.
"If they're taking test cricket to the South Island of New Zealand, then I think that's where it should be played."
But White yesterday told The Press Lincoln wasn't an option and said New Zealand Cricket backed Canterbury Cricket's proposed development of Hagley Oval.
"Our position is that Lincoln is a base for our high performance programme and it is not a test ground.
"It's dedicated for high performance," he said.
"As a test venue, it is not an option."
White said while NZ Cricket wasn't in the business of choosing grounds for associations, it backed the Canterbury Cricket proposal.
"What I will say is New Zealand Cricket needs to have international cricket in Christchurch," White said.
At a meeting on Monday, attended by Martin Meehan and Jim Anderton from Save Hagley, Canterbury Cricket chief executive Lee Germon and chairman Cran Bull, and Christchurch City Council sport and recreation manager John Filsell, it was determined whether there was any common ground between the two groups.
Parties are staying tight-lipped on how things were left at the end of the meeting. A statement is expected in the coming days.
However, both continue to try to mobilise supporters.
It is understood both parties are encouraging their followers to write letters to The Press, vote on a press.co.nz poll and, in the case of Canterbury Cricket backers, sign an online petition supporting the proposed development.
Meanwhile, councillors last month decided to go ahead with a $1 million development of the playing surface at Hagley Oval, upsetting Save Hagley.
Their argument is money shouldn't be spent on development of the playing surface before a decision on the development of the ground has been made.
Canterbury Cricket are still hopeful of having first-class cricket in the city this summer and want the main block upgraded for that, regardless of what decision is reached on the development.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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