Ignore the jingoistic-type tripe from Eden Park’s CEO with a shady past, Nick Sautner about how the place is the perfect amphitheatre for cricket. That’s his job to say so; and in fact who knows what else he gets up to, going by the following
The grand old lady is flawed all right, but the seemingly incorrigible CEO may be right on one thing- it’s not too bad for a T20 international. Why, you ask? Because T20 is already flawed in a true cricket sense. It’s more in the realm of entertainment. Probably eighty-five percent of attendees are there because they want to see the ball fly into the crowd as often as possible. They arrive en masse principally for a good time. Some of them may even feel like going home once Munro or Guptill depart the wicket. But a few drinks would soon make them forget that fact.
As sure as a rotund Tui t-shirt wearing un-co will crash through the middle of your beer attempting an improbable grab at 50k, NZC must absolutely love the cash cow that T20 is. To call for it to be removed from Eden Park is akin to requesting NZ Rugby remove AIG from the front of the All Black jersey. It isn’t going to happen any day soon. Better to bite the bullet then?
Test cricket is different, no explanation necessary. The boundaries at EP are way too short for authenticity. Aside from that, the venue isn’t fit for purpose under the ICC’s newer protocols regarding ground size. But the grand old dame still gets to keep her compliance certificate because the rules only affect the newer grounds.
That news then must be like a few tramadols to NZC’s headache around EP’s overall suitability for tests, because now they can conveniently schedule a pink ball night test match there every summer and be assured that the interest and attendance (gate takings) will far outweigh any pressing need for a fit for purpose venue in our biggest city. They get some leeway for several more years at least.
Once the novelty factor wears off though (as novelties always do), what then? Who knows? I’m two years off 50. I’ll probably be pushing up daisies by the time they even get around to the planning process for a proper cricket venue. Perhaps it’ll get vetoed for a new motorway and tunnel project at the last minute. And who can blame Aucklanders for being cynical about planning for sports stadiums?
And then there is the OSH disaster in waiting from that oversized tennis court over the back fence. It, somehow, is the home to Super Smasrh matches yet children in the front row, cyclists travelling up Sandringham Road, and Mobil patrons will one day get injured.
Most of what I’ve said has either been said before or should fit logically with what we already know. Just where to go from here for Auckland’s sports lovers? It’s probably easier to predict the winner of the 2020 Melbourne Cup.