Blow to Aurora Stadium on Cricket World Cup

IN ANOTHER blow to Aurora Stadium's identity as a cricket venue, the plan for it to be a home base for a team at next year's Cricket World Cup has been scrapped.

Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting in front of a capacity crowd at his tribute match last summer.

Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting in front of a capacity crowd at his tribute match last summer.

Tournament officials have ruled that only venues hosting matches are able to offer that service.

The blow comes as venue chiefs seek to increase the use of a drop-in wicket that  was installed last summer and hosted the inaugural Aussie 15s tournament and the hugely popular Ricky Ponting tribute game, attracting nearly 18,000 spectators.

Domestic fixtures at the ground appear unlikely in the short term, with the one day-competition being based in one state (New South Wales last summer) and the Big Bash League needing to be expanded before any Hobart Hurricanes matches can be played in Launceston, which seems unlikely.

Launceston City Council general manager Robert Dobrzynski said the latest development was disappointing.

``We've been told it's only the venues that will be hosting those games which can be used as training venues,'' he said.

``I'm guessing that is so that the teams can get used to the grounds, so while we had pursued that we have been unsuccessful.

``If they had a problem in terms of the number of venues, I'm sure they would look at other grounds, but I don't think there have been any issues in terms of their requirements.

``We are, of course, in continuous dialogue with Cricket Australia and Cricket Tasmania in order to pursue any opportunities if circumstances or other factors change to compromise that requirement from the Cricket World Cup organising committee.''

The positive for Aurora Stadium is that it would be available for AFL if the league decided to start the 2015 season at its traditional March timeslot, therefore going head-to-head with the closing stages of cricket's showpiece, which will have its final on March 29.

However, this would seem unlikely, with the most sensible option to delay the start of the next AFL season until April 3 due to the MCG, Adelaide Oval, Gabba and SCG being unavailable. This would mean the grand final would be held on the second week of October, which the league has flagged this week.

``We are constantly marketing the capabilities of Aurora Stadium to the AFL as a major event venue, so it is not beyond the realms of reason that the AFL could schedule one of those early games at Aurora Stadium,'' Mr Dobrzynski said.

``They are aware of the capabilities, so they could potentially schedule another (non-Hawthorn) game there in the early part of next year, but that is probably less likely than more likely.''


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