ACB worried over MCG capacity for Ashes Test series
Published: Friday, October 11, 2002, 0:10 [IST]
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Melbourne: The Australian Cricket Board (ACB) is concerned about a clash between the Ashes Test series with England and redevelopment at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).Ground capacity will be reduced by about 20,000 this southern hemisphere summer to about 75,000 with the demolition of the Ponsford Stand. The December 15 One-dayer between Australia and England and the opening day of the Boxing Day Fourth Test are two dates expected to attract a capacity crowd if the weather is favourable. "That's a concern for us because I think the last time England played here in a One- day match we had 85,000 or something like that," ACB chief executive James Sutherland said on Thursday. "That's certainly a concern that (ground capacity) will drop off, but the opportunities are there and people will have to get in early. At the end of the day, the facility will be a fantastic one for cricket." While Sutherland added the ground had attracted 70,000-plus crowd "only three or four times in recent times," he conceded those matches usually involved England. "The interest in this Ashes series, not just for the Boxing Day Test but all the other matches around the country, is incredibly high," he said. "We've really been astounded at the way pre-match ticket sales have gone." The MCG is being redeveloped ahead of the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games.