The Hagley Oval in Christchurch New Zealand might mean very little to cricket connoisseurs around the world at the moment but the newly developed cricket ground has a huge role to play in next year's 50-over World Cup down under.
The ground will host the opening ceremony and the opening game in the World Cup on
February 14th when host nation New Zealand take on Sri Lanka. It will then host two more games in the pool stage including one of England's matches.
Eight year absence
Christchurch has not held any international game since 2006 so for the Hagley Oval to now be able to stage International cricket is a huge boost to the City and Canterbury cricket.
The ground itself has undergone a $9m development in just nine months and will now hold around 20,000 spectators, with help from some temporary seating, when the World Cup starts.
The opening of the ground is the culmination of a lot of hard work for what was an ambitious task. Hagley was not even ready for first-class cricket, let alone international cricket, so New Zealand and Canterbury cricket can breathe a huge sigh of relief now the work has been completed.
As well as hosting three World Cup games next year Hagley Oval will also host Canterbury's domestic cricket games as well as the Boxing Day Test between New Zealand and Sri Lanka this year.
The Oval was officially opened on Monday by New Zealand Prime Minister John Key and
former Kiwi cricketer Sir Richard Hadlee, whom the new pavilion is named after. However, the ground must wait until next month before the ICC visit and officially give it the stamp of approval to host International cricket.
Hagley Oval will now be a worthy addition to international cricket and will once again
ensure that Christchurch hosts Test and ODI matches in the future, something that has been missing over the last eight years.
Although they are hosting the first game and the opening ceremony is it right that the Hagley Oval should do this ahead of the great Australian venues or even any other ground in New Zealand?