NSW wants World Cup cricket in Sydney's west
A Sheffield Shield match at Blacktown Oval. Photo: Steve Christo
THE NSW government wants to take the 2015 World Cup deep into western Sydney, with Blacktown joining ANZ Stadium and the SCG on the state's wish-list to host cup matches.
While the MCG is a firm favourite to stage the World Cup final in March 2015, and the SCG is a leading contender for a semi-final, sources connected with the New South Wales bid have confirmed it aims to push into greater western Sydney.
It is understood Blacktown International Sportspark, where NSW is playing a Sheffield Shield game against Western Australia this weekend, could host one of the smaller group games.
Blacktown is also a temporary home for GWS Giants, the AFL's newest expansion club.
Cricket's desire to tap into one of the fastest-growing regions in Australia is balanced by the risks associated with staging cup games at non-traditional cricket venues.
ANZ Stadium, which boasts a new, $2 million practice facility in the Homebush Olympic precinct, is in the mix to stage a top billing match because of its 82,000-seat capacity.
ANZ Stadium had a chance to enhance its credentials with cup organisers on Saturday night, when it hosted the Australia Day Twenty20 international between Australia and Sri Lanka.
Submissions, which were led by state governments, were made before Christmas but the fixture and venues are expected to be announced in the middle of this year.
''We've got a range of options for the different types of matches we've got to play across all of Australia and New Zealand. Clearly the vast majority of those are established cricket venues and there's a very small number that are not traditional cricket venues but might figure more in the long-term plans for cricket in that area,'' said World Cup organising committee chief executive John Harnden.
''We're working through a process to come up with the right answer for spreading the World Cup across all of Australia and New Zealand.''
The SCG, which will hold 48,000 people when its redevelopment is complete, is still expected to host important World Cup games, though outgoing Cricket NSW chief executive David Gilbert has said he doesn't like the chances of Sydney stealing the final from Melbourne.
The MCG, the centrepiece of Victoria's bid, staged the 1992 final between Pakistan and England, attracting a crowd of 87,182.
The MCG's size does not guarantee it the final but it is in a strong position. Cricket considerations, the potential for the event to bring the city alive and commercial factors will be taken into account by the organising committee. Auckland is well-placed to host a semi-final, while the redeveloped Adelaide Oval will also fight hard to host big games.
It is unclear whether Etihad Stadium is part of the Victorian bid to host cup games.