Cricket: NZ unlikely to host World Cup semi

By Dylan Cleaver

In 1992, the last time the World Cup was hosted in Australasia, Eden Park hosted one semifinal. Photo / Getty Images
In 1992, the last time the World Cup was hosted in Australasia, Eden Park hosted one semifinal. Photo / Getty Images

New Zealand cricket fans should brace themselves for disappointment when the allocation for 2015 World Cup matches is announced.

The co-hosted World Cup is a joint operation between the New Zealand and Australian cricket boards, but it should come as no surprise as to which organisation carries the biggest stick to those meetings.

The organising committee is debating the allocation of the 49 matches to be played over 43 days in February and March 2015. It is also looking more specifically at the allocation of high-profile pool matches and, pivotally, the disbursement of knockout matches.

"Australia would like two semifinals," said Therese Walsh, who leads New Zealand operations for the World Cup.

Walsh was speaking to media today at a meeting hosted by International Cricket Council chief executive Dave Richardson.

Topics traversed included India's continued intransigence when it came to universal application of the Decision Review System and the continued fight against corruption, but it is the allocation of World Cup matches that would carry the most resonance here.

In 1992, the last time the World Cup was hosted in Australasia, Eden Park hosted one semifinal, the Sydney Cricket ground the other, with the monolithic MCG the obvious choice for the final.

It seems unlikely there will be a similar split this time, with a quarter-final the best New Zealand can realistically hope for.

"It's often about what can generate revenues," Richardson said.

With Australia's larger population and bigger stadia, the World Cup would be able to produce more revenue for the hosts should the majority of "big" matches, including finals, be played on the west side of the Tasman Sea.

New Zealand's biggest capacity ground, Eden Park, is not ideal for cricket and its capacity puts it on a par with the redeveloped Adelaide Oval, behind the SCG and distant to west Sydney's ANZ Stadium and the MCG.

Walsh said while New Zealand would love to host as many of the finals, there had to be an element of "commercial pragmatism" and that had to be balanced up "with the fact this is a partnership".

Sponsors, member countries and broadcasters' views would be taken into account, making the schedule a complex weft and weave exercise. New Zealand would like to play all their matches at home, as would Australia, though that is unlikely to be possible.
Also, there is a desire to have every country appear at least once in either country.

"You almost need a rocket scientist." Walsh said of pulling together the schedule.

Christchurch remains a priority for World Cup organisers, as long as the Hagley Oval development can progress through the Environment Court and is signed off by the city.

Walsh said organisers on both sides of the Tasman were acutely aware of the heartbreak the southern city went through when its Rugby World Cup allocation was moved.

"It would be a tragedy not to have Christchurch at the Cricket World Cup," Walsh said. "But it's up to the people there now."

- NZ Herald

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