Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting batted for his home ground, Bellerive Oval (also known as “Blundstone Arena”) to host a Test match in every summer.
Bellerive Oval is in Hobart, the capital city of Tasmania with around 19,500 capacities. This ground was opened at 1914 and organised first international match in 1988 as ODI cricket. Hobart organised first Test match in 1989. Currently, Hobart hosts ODI cricket regularly but far behind in Test cricket. Till date, Bellerive Oval hosted only 11 Tests, while they last time hosted a five-day international match in 2012.
Hobart hosted Test matches against Sri Lanka, Pakistan, West Indies, New Zealand but never hosted the match against giants like England, India, South Africa. One of the main reasons for hosting fewer games of the longer-format cricket in this ground attracts a much lower attendance.
Today Ponting unveiled his bronze statue on this ground at the morning.
“There will be Test cricket here as far as I’m concerned,” – Ponting expressed his thought about the Test cricket in Hobart.
He added,“I think some of the criticism (of attendances) has been a bit unfair. What I would like to see is that Hobart and Tasmania get a Test match every year. It’s pretty hard to make assumptions on Tasmanian cricket or people coming to watch Test cricket in Australia when there’s no continuity about where the games are. The Tasmanian public are being judged on Test matches against lower-ranked teams.”
“Let’s have an Ashes Test match, let’s have a Test match against South Africa, let’s have a Test match against India here and then we can start making some judgements and comparisons with other venues around Australia. I’ve got my Tasmanian hat on obviously but I think that’s really fair. And hopefully the Hobart and Tasmanian public turn out over the next few days.”
Ponting also said about the day-night Test match at Hobart. Hobart was the reported venue to host the historical day-night Test; which was finally staged in Adelaide. Ponting said, “If that is what it is going to take down here – well, absolutely.”
“We have heard Cricket Australia talk about the right place and the right time for day-night Test cricket, and if attendances are down over the next few days (at Blundstone Arena) it might be exactly what Hobart needs. We have unbelievable facilities here. They are world-class with the stands and lights. It is now what you would expect for an international cricket venue so why not?” – concluded by Ponting.