It just gets better and better for cricket fans in the Western Bay.

Yesterday, NZ Cricket switched a ODI day-night international between the Black Caps and England to Bay Oval following delays in the re-turfing of Napier's McLean Park.

The Black Caps clash with England on Wednesday, February 28, and the switch means 14 international games are to be played at Bay Oval this summer - all televised under the world class lights set to be installed at the ground by December 1.

Napier's loss is Bay Oval's gain with the natural, sand-based outfield providing what is regarded as the fastest drying playing surface of any cricket ground in New Zealand.


"We told everyone that if we get lights we will get more cricket and that goes along with that 'build it and they will come' attitude that we have always taken," Bay Oval Cricket Trust general manager, Kelvin Jones, said.

"No one was ever going to guarantee that is the case but we just knew that this is how these things work, and to an extent we have been vindicated today."

Jones is delighted that Bay Oval will be the busiest ground in New Zealand for international cricket during the 2017-2018 season.

Extensive work on rebuilding the spectator banking areas means capacity will be up to 11,500, compared to Seddon Park's 10,600 and Napier's 11,500.

"We obviously feel for Napier but we have the best draining outfield in the country. We are very fortunate we are on a sand dune and don't have to spend millions of dollars to keep it that way," Jones said.

"It is a reality of cricket that if you have a free draining outfield you can get on and play so much quicker."

One of the major goals of the Bay Oval Trust is to be a permanent host venue of the Black Caps in particular.

"We are competitive here and that is the way it works. You have got to be better as a new ground. We are conscious that we always have to do things better and be better than the incumbents to get games," Jones said.

"We will have the best lights without doubt, we have talked about the outfield and with our increased capacity we will be as big, if not bigger than most of the other grounds.

"We can't rest on our laurels at this point either. We just have to keep on improving and that's what we intend to do."

The new lights are part of a $4 million upgrade of Bay Oval including increased seating capacity and a new, permanent state-of-the-art replay scoreboard. The embankment extension has used soil and fill from the nearby Zespri project.

The first game under lights is a McDonald's Super Smash game on December 16 with internationals featuring the Black Caps, captained by local boy Kane Williamson, to come against Pakistan, the West Indies and England.

The ICC U19 Cricket World Cup pool games and the final will be staged at Bay Oval and the White Ferns will also be in action at the venue.