News | 27 March 2023
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Pitch perfect: Basin Reserve in good form following revamp

Over the past eight years, works have been underway to upgrade the iconic Basin Reserve to make sure it stays in shipshape as one of the top cricket grounds in the world.

Fence with a grandstand in the background.

And the English cricket captain agrees, saying it's the best cricket wicket he's ever played on, according to Cricket Wellington's CEO.

In the 2015-2025 Long Term Plan, Council committed $21.5million to the Basin Reserve to refurbish the area, while keeping the character of the heritage site. 

The upgrade has seen an improvement to the grandstands and pavilion, both of which were built around the 1920s.

Cricket Wellington Chief Executive Officer Cam Mitchell has been in his role for five years and has seen the space transform.

“The infrastructure has been upgraded, and there’s improved amenities for both spectators and players. The two grandstands have been completely renovated, there’s brand new viewing rooms, the changing rooms have been upgraded and are now gender neutral. 

“The ground is 155 years old, and the Old Pavilion stand was built 98 years ago, so a lot of the infrastructure needed to be modernised.”

Players Pavilion Gallery at the Basin Reserve.
Players Pavilion Gallery.

Cam believes that the upgrades have helped the Basin Reserve become a destination – one where you can spend the day without ever having to leave the grounds. 

“The Basin is an amazing cricket ground, but now it’s easier to stay and enjoy your day. We’ve significantly improved the entranceway, have more food and drinks vendors and uniquely you can continue to view the game while waiting for your kai.  

“We also have the Cricket Museum that includes a virtual reality zone, which is great for kids. We’ve improved the scoreboards and have full WiFi connectivity. We’re trying to ensure that people are well catered for and can have a good experience.”

The recent Black Caps vs. England match saw a lot of feedback from the English team and fans about how great their experience was in the newly renovated Basin.

“At the recent Black Caps vs. England test match, we’ve had lots of positive feedback from both the touring English fans and all the team,” Cam says. “The turf team work very hard to prepare the pitch before a match - the pitch is the most critical thing from a cricketing perspective. Ben Stokes, the England captain, said it's the best cricket wicket he's ever played on.”

Museum Stand Building at the Basin Reserve.
The Museum Stand.

Cam wants to make it clear that while the Basin Reserve is known and loved as a cricket ground, it has more than one function and is a huge asset to the city.

“It’s not just for cricket – we have junior football and junior rugby for little kids in winter. We have food and wine festivals, including Beers at the Basin. We do conferences and events and have even run blood banks here. 

“People just love it here. You know, it's not like other more modern grounds. It's got character, but now it also has fresh amenities.

“It's probably the most used international sporting venue. We really acknowledge and appreciate the Council and what they've done to support this. It’s been a great partnership for the city.”