New Zealand news
Mills slams small New Zealand grounds
Some of New Zealand's grounds have boundaries that are too small and pitches that are too flat, especially with the increasing power of bats, fast bowler Kyle Mills has said. Mills' comments came ahead of the second ODI between New Zealand and South Africa at McLean Park in Napier, where the square boundaries are a little over 50 metres long.
"I'm a bowler so I'm going to be a little bit biased. I think the wickets are too flat and the boundaries need to go out further," Mills told Fairfax NZ News. "The bats are all pretty good these days and a mis-hit can go for six.
"I think Hamilton is ridiculous. The ropes are 4m in from the [advertising] boards; that's absurd. Richard Levi probably would have got out three or four times if the rope was back on the boards."
Levi hit a record 13 sixes during his 117 off 51 balls, the fastest Twenty20 century, at Seddon Park. His first six was a top-edged sweep over the fine-leg boundary against the spinner Nathan McCullum.
Mills also called the length of the straight boundaries at Eden Park in Auckland "absurd".
"A good-sized cricket ground makes for exceptionally good batsmanship; we saw that at the Cake Tin [in Wellington], where there are reasonably sized boundaries," Mills said. "We saw plenty of ones, plenty of twos, and the odd three. It was great for people to watch a batter like [AB de Villiers] on a good-sized ground."
The ICC's playing conditions stipulate that the boundary rope must be at least three metres away from the fence/advertisement hoardings for safety reasons. It also says the shorter of the square boundaries should be a minimum of 59.43 metres and both the straight boundaries should be at least 64 metres. According to the playing conditions: "In all cases the aim shall be to provide the largest playing area, subject to no boundary exceeding 90 yards (82.29 meters) from the centre of the pitch to be used".
There is, however, a provision for cricket grounds that have smaller dimensions. "Any ground which has been approved to host international cricket prior to October 1, 2007, or which is currently under construction as of this date which is unable to conform to these new minimum dimensions, shall be exempt."
Edited by George Binoyhttp://www.espncricinfo.com/newzealand/ ... 55469.html
He's not wrong there. I seem to recall when the ICC announced new regulations for ground dimensions as of 2007 it was about 2003 and national associations had to apply for the grounds they wanted exempted (even though they were guaranteed acceptance if they were existing grounds).
New Zealand had to apply for by far the most - Eden Park, AMI Stadium, Carisbrook and McLean Park all failed to qualify and Seddon Park and Queenstown Events Centre were right on the cusp of legality. Only Basin Reserve and the Cake Tin qualified unreservedly (University Oval was still in the planning stages at the time, as was the making of the ground in Whangarei an international venue).
Their grounds are farcically small. Kerry O'Keefe loves to tell the story of his only international 6 - a miscued hook which led to a top edge for 6 off (I think) Ewen Chatfield. He always says had it been anywhere but Auckland it would have been out, but at Eden Park it went 5 rows back!
I go back to the Rugby World Cup - they missed a massive opportunity there. Cricket grounds - especially for a place like New Zealand were 10-15,000 is sufficient capacity and 80% of that can be hill seating - are nowhere near as expensive to build as football grounds. They could have re-built Eden Park properly, turned AMI into a Rugby only venue. Given Auckland and Christchurch a nominal amount of money to build proper cricket grounds.
It appears that's what they're going to try and do in Christchurch. Christchurch Cricket have indicated they would prefer it if when the time comes, the new stadium there is built to be rugby specific and they're given a small amount to build a boutique cricket ground. Why they didn't do the same with Auckland is beyond me.
As for Hamilton and Napier... They're just stuck with those I guess. Hamilton is already cricket specific, and Napier is more of a cricket than rugby ground. Doesn't help their laughable dimensions.