© Getty Images (Representation photo)
New Zealand play against Sri Lanka in the opening match of the World Cup © Getty Images (Representation photo)

Christchurch: Oct 21, 2014

The Hagley Oval, New Zealand’s newest cricket ground and venue for the opening game of the ICC World Cup 2015, Tuesday received the official accreditation from the International Cricket Council (ICC).

The Christchurch venue, developed in the wake of the 2011 earthquake, has been granted its ICC Warrant of Fitness – the ground’s final accreditation hurdle ahead of the first Test match against Sri Lanka Dec 26 and start of the World Cup 14 Feb.

ICC officials assessed the ground’s on and off-field facilities, weighed them against the required criteria for new venues, and concluded they were of “good standard” to host international fixtures.

ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 Head of New Zealand Therese Walsh says Hagley Oval is now ready to shine on the world stage.

“From the earliest days of tournament planning, knowing what sport means to Cantabrians and the challenges the city has faced, we had a vison of Hagley Oval playing a key role in the Cricket World Cup,” Walsh said in a statement Tuesday.

“The oval and pavilion are truly world class, and it will be a very special occasion when Hagley Oval is beamed around the world for the opening match on Feb 14.”

New Zealand play against Sri Lanka in the opening match of the World Cup. New Zealand Cricket Chief Executive David White welcomed the accreditation, saying the ground was sure to become an important venue on the organisation’s schedule for international cricket.

“The Hagley Oval offers rare flexibility,” said White. “It can operate in boutique mode when smaller attendances are expected, or can expand to cater for a crowd of about 20,000 when required. We’re delighted to have another quality international venue approved by the ICC.”

Lee Germon, canterbury cricket chief executive, said the latest decision reflected well on the co-operation between the many stakeholders in the project – among them the Christchurch City Council, the Canterbury Cricket Trust, New Zealand Cricket and 2015 Cricket World Cup.

“We call it a ground for all generations,” said Germon. “The Hagley Oval balances nicely the heritage of the precinct, and all the modern, high-tech innovation that is needed for an international cricket venue.

“Receiving the official stamp of approval is an important milestone for a ground designed to serve the region for the next hundred years.”