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The latest in my round up of national cricket stadiums focuses on New Zealand. Here are some of the best grounds within that particular country.
How Many International Cricket Stadiums are in New Zealand?
There are around 41 international cricket stadiums in New Zealand. Some are used on a regular basis on the circuit, while others feature only occasionally on the international calendar.
Certain other grounds may have closed, while others have dropped off the radar of the game’s governing body in New Zealand.
Which is the Oldest Cricket Ground in NZ?
The oldest cricket ground in New Zealand is the Basin Reserve in Wellington. It was opened in 1868 and is the only cricket stadium in the country to enjoy Grade 2 New Zealand Historic Place Status.
The Basin Reserve hosted its first test match when England played here in 1930 and it continues to be an important venue for international tours in the present day.
10 Biggest Cricket Stadiums in New Zealand
Eden Park, Auckland
Eden Park in Auckland was one of the grounds used for New Zealand’s first ever test series. England were the visitors in 1930, and this stadium hosted the tourists across four days in February of that year.
The ground has been an important part of New Zealand cricket since that point and it also has the biggest capacity of any stadium in the country. 42,000 people can be accommodated here.
Like a lot of venues in the country, Eden Park is multipurpose with rugby also being showcased.
Also known as the Wellington Regional Stadium, the Sky Stadium is a rival to the Basin Reserve within the city. It opened in 2000 and has a very impressive capacity in the present day of 34,500.
While it’s yet to host a test match at the time of writing, the Sky Stadium has regularly been used for both men’s and women’s limited overs internationals. The first international game to take place here was a men’s ODI between New Zealand and the West Indies in January 2000.
Sky Stadium will continue to host those games, but its close proximity to the Basin Reserve means that we may never see a test match take place here.
Sadly, the AMI Stadium is no longer with us, but it does deserve to be included on this list. You may know it better as Lancaster Park – a ground that was widely used for cricket before it was damaged in the devastating Christchurch earthquake of 2011.
It was a great shame that the damage was so severe that the ground had to be demolished. It was opened way back in 1881 and was the site of New Zealand’s very first test match against England in 1930, and was a regular on the international circuit since that point. At its peak, the AMI Stadium had a capacity of 38,628.
Seddon Park in Hamilton was first used as a cricket ground in 1914, but it would be some time before international matches took place here. 1981 saw New Zealand take on India in a One Day International and the stadium has since hosted international games in all three formats.
Since 1956, Northern Districts have been the tenants for first class matches. Despite its relatively small capacity of just 10,000, touring teams continue to be accommodated in Hamilton’s most famous cricket location.
The Carisbrook Stadium is another former cricket ground. It was opened in 1881 but work to demolish the facility began in 2013. It was primarily used for rugby, but Carisbrook enjoyed its fair share of international cricket, starting with a test match against England in 1955.
One Day International Cricket was first played here in 1974, but plans for a bigger facility meant that Carisbrook was put into retirement. The final international match to take place in the stadium was an ODI between New Zealand and South Africa in 2004.
With a capacity of 19,700, McLean Park is one of the larger cricket grounds in the whole of New Zealand. It was opened in 1911 and first hosted international cricket when the Kiwis took on Pakistan in a test match here in 1979.
It’s located in Napier and, since that initial game in 1979, McLean Park has gone on to host men’s matches in all three formats. The women’s team plays here too and there have been a number of WODIs and WT20is from 1982 onwards.
Capacity: 9,000 – Expandable to 19,000
The Hagley Oval is one of the more familiar international venues in New Zealand. It was first used as a cricket ground back in 1867, but has been more prominent since the sad demise of Lancaster Park.
New Zealand first began playing international cricket here in 2014 when they hosted Sri Lanka in a Boxing Day test. Prior to that, women’s cricket had been more of a focal point and a women’s test between the Kiwis and England took place back in 1969.
In the present day, the Hagley Oval has a capacity that can stretch up to 18,000, and it continues to host Canterbury as well as the national sides.
Queenstown Events Centre
Anyone who has ever visited Queenstown in New Zealand’s South Island will know that this is a world class centre for extreme sports. For those who don’t fancy a spot of bungee jumping, however, there are some gentler pursuits.
More recently, the Queenstown Events Centre has become a home for international cricket in the country. Opened in 1997, this is another multisports facility where rugby and football are also played.
In regards to cricket, the Otago Volts have found a home here, while the Queenstown Events Centre has been picking up international matches on a regular basis. 2003 saw the first One Day International take place between New Zealand and India. The Kiwi women’s team, the White Ferns, regularly play ODIs and T20s here.
It’s yet to host a test match but, with a respectable capacity of 19,000, we could yet see an international red ball game heading towards the Queenstown Events Centre.
Owen Delany Park
One of the less familiar cricket grounds in New Zealand is Owen Delany Park which is situated in Taupo. It has previously hosted international games, but it hasn’t seen New Zealand play here since 2001.
While the ground may have fallen off the radar as far as the national side is concerned, Owen Delany Park remains home for the Northern District Knights in domestic cricket. The ground only ever hosted a handful of ODIs between 1999 and 2001 but, if the senior teams do decide to return here, the stadium can accommodate them with its healthy capacity of 15,000.
While we’ve seen that the Basin Reserve in Wellington is the oldest cricket stadium in New Zealand, it actually has a relatively small capacity. Just 11,600 spectators can be accommodated here whenever the cricket comes to town.
The venue is in a curious location in the nation’s capital. It’s essentially on a roundabout and you can drive around it as you explore the city. That location can also lead to windy conditions which have aided the seam bowlers on plenty of occasions.
When people talk about cricket grounds in New Zealand, they often refer to an intimate atmosphere. They may not have the biggest capacity, when compared to other stadiums around the world, but there is a friendly and relaxed feeling to many of the games that take place.
There are some bigger grounds, particularly those that also host both codes of rugby. Overall, the stadiums are perfect for international cricket and those that are into the architecture that accompanies sporting venues will also take an interest in their history and design.