Mt Maunganui's Bay Oval will host more one day international (ODI) cricket over the 2018-19 summer than any other ground in New Zealand.

The oval, which hosted its first ODIs in 2014 and its first day-night matches last year, will be the venue for two matches against Sri Lanka on January 3 and 5, followed by two more against the powerful Indian team over the holiday weekend on January 26 and 28.

There will also be a women's ODI between the White Ferns and India on January 29, the day after the Anniversary Day men's international.

Bay Oval's four men's ODIs during the season is double that of Napier's reconstituted McLean Park, while Nelson, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin have just one 50-over match each.


Continuing issues with Eden Park's resource consent means Auckland's entire international cricket schedule this summer is limited to just two T20 internationals.

Bay Oval's general manager, Kelvin Jones, can hardly contain his glee at the local ground's programme.

"We're absolutely delighted. To have key games like the two India ODIs on a holiday weekend is huge. It'll mean the highest TV audience of any games we've had at the oval to date."

The Bay Oval Trust, which runs the ground, is completing an expansion of the embankment which will lift capacity to just more than 10,000 spectators.

But with superstars like Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan and MS Dhoni all likely to appear for India against Mt Maunganui hometown heroes Kane Williamson and Trent Boult, Jones is expecting those matches to be sellouts.

He's also relishing the opportunity for holidaymakers and locals alike to enjoy two matches against Sri Lanka soon after New Year.

"We've created a bit of a niche for ourselves over the holidays with those games in early January."

Sri Lanka, who often struggle in New Zealand conditions, have just completed a convincing 2-0 home test series win over South Africa.


But the Bay Oval's big ambition of becoming a test match ground remains elusive.

There are five test matches scheduled for the season – two against Sri Lanka in December and three against Bangladesh in March – but none have been allocated to Mt Maunganui.

The only test north of Wellington all summer is against Bangladesh in Hamilton from February 28 to March 4.

According to New Zealand Cricket's Anthony Crummy, Bay Oval is a critical venue for them.

"But it's still relatively young and we decided this year to go with more traditional venues in Christchurch, Wellington and Hamilton."

Kelvin Jones is disappointed at that outcome, but he remains determined to see the ground elevated to the highest international status.

"It's absolutely, from our point of view, the pinnacle of the game and we'll continue to push for it."

Despite there being no test, it's obvious Bay Oval is becoming a preferred ground for some of New Zealand Cricket's most prestigious occasions.

The ODI series against India, the world's second-ranked side, is the highlight of the domestic summer programme and for Mt Maunganui to snare two of the five matches is a huge coup.

For the sake of the Indian TV audience, the matches won't start till 3pm and, if they go the distance, won't finish till 11pm.

Eden Park isn't allowed on-field activity after 10pm and questions remain about the quality of the lights at Hamilton's Seddon Park.

While those are major factors in Bay Oval being the only ground in the upper North Island to host an ODI against India, the local ground knows it can't rest on its laurels if it's to continue getting such plum fixtures.

Hear more from Kelvin Jones on Newstalk ZB Saturday morning from 7am.

Fact box

Bay Oval International Cricket

Thursday, January 3
Black Caps v Sri Lanka 2pm

Saturday, January 5
Black Caps v Sri Lanka 2 pm

Saturday, January 26
Black Caps v India 3 pm

Monday, January 28
Black Caps v India 3 pm

Tuesday, January 29 2pm
White Ferns v India

November 16-19
New Zealand A v India A
(4-day match)

December 7, 9, 11
New Zealand A v India A
(50-over match)