McLean Park may need to be re-turfed to remove old grass root matter clogging the soil and preventing the ground from drying.

The Herald spoke to experts, on the condition of anonymity, about what they believe was wrong with the venue after consecutive one-day cricket internationals at the venue in 2016 (New Zealand v Pakistan) and 2017 (New Zealand v Australia) were abandoned, despite rain stopping earlier in the day.

Regardless of when the last drainage was put in place - estimated at two to three years ago by the Napier City Council - if that doesn't connect with the upper layer of grass, the water can pool. If organic matter builds up below the turf as well, it can retain excessive levels of water.

Another concern was that towing a super-sopper behind a tractor effectively massaged water back into the surface rather than taking it away. The most effective super-soppers are understood to be the self-sufficient 'whale' variety with sponges at front and back.


The design was originally developed by the Melbourne Cricket Ground in the 1970s and, by way of endorsement, the Indian Premier League purchased a fleet several years ago.
The theory is that unless water is removed using the 'whale' system, sustained traffic turns the turf to mush.

Grounds which drain at an estimate of 20ml an hour generally don't interrupt sport to an adverse degree. With less than that amount of rain falling in Napier ahead of the game - estimates had it at 5-6ml - it has uncovered an issue which is going to require considerable investment to solve.

One source suggested New Zealand Cricket might struggle to get the March 1 ODI match against South Africa insured against commercial losses for inclement weather if Napier remained the venue. Putting better drainage procedures in place might become conditional to getting approval.