by Tim Jones for cricinfo
Imagine you’re at a Test match at the Basin Reserve. Virat Kohli is at the crease. He’s on 99, eyeing up the options for his century: perhaps a push into the covers, perhaps a leg glance. The bowler runs in, thinking he has a chance, thinking that Kohli might be distracted by the impending century. He gathers himself, leaps, delivers. The ball is overpitched outside off stump, perfect for a cover drive. But as Kohli prepares to play it, he is distracted by the roar of a truck as it races along the motorway flyover that arches past the north-eastern boundary of the ground.
All he manages is a tentative push, and the ball nestles in the keeper’s gloves. It’s just a pity for the home fans that the umpire can’t hear the snick above the roar of the traffic.
Sounds far-fetched? Unfortunately, the threat is all too real. The Basin Reserve, New Zealand’s iconic cricket ground, the scene of 53 Test matches since 1930, the ground where Daniel Vettori took his first Test wicket, faces its greatest challenge.
The New Zealand government, led by Prime Minister John Key, has set out on a massive road-building programme, largely to meet the demands of the powerful trucking lobby, who want to fill up New Zealand roads with ever bigger trucks. Part of that road-building programme involves building a new motorway past the Basin Reserve.
With an arrogance that is matched only by their ignorance of cricket, the motorway planners have decided to put that motorway on a flyover that would arc around the north-eastern side of the ground.
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Tim Jones is a Mt Victoria resident and sustainable transport advocate who has been a cricket fan since 1969.