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MCG turf to be fully replaced ahead of cricket World Cup final

The MCG will use its month-long break after the grand final to undertake its biggest turf overhaul in a decade, ahead of hosting next year's cricket World Cup final.

The venue's entire surface, almost 20,000 square metres, will be torn up two days after the AFL grand final, which this year falls on September 27. Once all the turf has been removed - it is estimated that will fill about 150 truck-and-trailer loads - the base will be flattened in preparation for the installation of the new turf, which has been growing in central Victoria since January.

Cricket Australia's decision not to host any domestic or international matches at the venue until October 31 - the season-starting Matador BBQs One-Day Cup is being held in Queensland and NSW - has given the Melbourne Cricket Club a window for the turf overhaul.

The removal of the turf is expected to take six days. Twelve days have been allotted for the installation of the new turf, with the expectation there will be a fortnight between the completion of the installation and the first match to be played on it.

The program, which has been budgeted at $1.7 million, is the most extensive undertaken by the Melbourne Cricket Club since the overhaul undertaken after the 2004 AFL season, in preparation for the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

While the MCG's use of large-scale artificial lighting has helped preserve the turf, especially during winter, its arenas operations manager Tony Gordon said "the life span of any natural turf sports surface is not infinite", especially at such a "high-use venue".

The turf overhaul will coincide with the installation of the venue's 10 drop-in pitches in preparation for the cricket season, of which the centrepiece will be hosting the World Cup final on March 29.

The first match on the re-laid MCG turf will be a Sheffield Shield match between Victoria and NSW starting on October 31. The first international match will be played on November 7, a Twenty20 encounter between Australia and South Africa.