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McLean Park loses South African ODI

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 14/02/2017

Umpires and captains Kane Williamson and Aaron Finch during the delayed One Day International series. © Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images Umpires and captains Kane Williamson and Aaron Finch during the delayed One Day International series. Drainage issues with McLean Park's outfield have forced New Zealand Cricket to transfer the Black Caps' fourth ODI against South Africa from Napier to Hamilton.

The match, scheduled for March 1, will now be played at Seddon Park.

An investigation into the abandoned Chapell-Hadlee ODI against Australia has shown a need for urgent remedial work on McLean Park's turf, drainage, and irrigation system.

The February 2 match was abandoned without a ball being bowled after the outfield failed to drain properly following morning rain.

The upcoming ODI against South Africa posed what has been described as "an unacceptable risk" of a repeat drainage failure.

NZ Cricket and the Napier City Council said it was in the best interests of McLean Park's cricketing future to transfer the fixture.

NZC chief operating officer Anthony Crummy said the findings of the investigation left few other options.

"There have been shortcomings identified in McLean Park's drainage and irrigation system which need to be remedied before we can be confident of avoiding what happened in the Chappell-Hadlee fixture," he said.

Drought conditions in the Hawke's Bay meant significant levels of watering leading up to the match which, combined with limited drainage and rain on match-day, resulted in a worst-case scenario.

"Several measures could be employed to help mitigate this risk ahead of the South Africa match but, even then, any period of significant or extended rain in the lead-up would likely result in the same outcome."

Crummy noted a complete review of the McLean Park outfield was undertaken following the abandonment of the West Indies ODI in 2013, and as part of preparations for the 2015 Cricket World Cup.

As a result, drainage in the area in front of the Harris Stand was upgraded.

The latest review revealed drainage deterioration that could only be addressed by installing a full replacement system.

Planning on remedial work will begin as soon as possible, he added, and NZC was confident McLean Park would be able to host New Zealand's ODIs against England and Pakistan next summer.

The Napier City council has committed to a $900,000 upgrade, including a complete replacement of the playing surface, drainage and irrigation system.

This is in addition to an existing commitment to build drop-in pitches, improve the lighting, and build practice facilities.

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