Big Bash: NZ Cricket denies Auckland expansion reports

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has denied reports from across the Tasman, suggesting an Auckland-based team may join Australia's lucrative Twenty20 Big Bash in 2021.

Cricket Australia officials have reportedly discussed the introducing two new teams, including one in Auckland, with broadcasters, as part of their expansion plans.

On Thursday, Newshub tried contacting NZC, but officials refused to comment.

On Friday, an NZC spokesperson told Newshub that it was news to his organisation.

"We're concentrating entirely on investing in our own domestic competitions," he said. "It's not a topic of discussion at NZC and neither have we received any contact from CA on the matter."

While NZC says there is no truth to the rumours, Eden Park Trust chief executive Nick Sautner told Newshub that it would love the chance to host Big Bash fixtures.

"Eden Park has fielded several requests from Australian Big Bash teams, wishing to play at New Zealand’s national stadium, due to the intimate setting and fan-friendly boundaries at the park.

"Next Friday's sold-out T20 at New Zealand's national stadium demonstrates Eden Park can deliver one of the best cricket atmospheres in the world.

"The park would be thrilled to host these fixtures for the city."

Previously, the only Big Bash presence in New Zealand was a 2015 pre-season fixture between the Canterbury Kings and Sydney Thunder, where former Canterbury and Blackcaps wicketkeeper Lee Germon serves as general manager.

This season, the only Kiwis playing in the Big Bash are former Blackcaps captain Brendon McCullum (Brisbane Heat) and opener Anton Devcich (Sydney Thunder), although former internationals Stephen Fleming (Melbourne Stars), Daniel Vettori (Heat) and Shane Bond (Thunder) coach teams.

Channel Seven commentator Jim Wilson thinks the inclusion of a New Zealand team would be great for the competition.

"I think it's a bit of a no-brainer, if you can attract some star power like some of those Kiwis who are absolute superstars.

"If you can get them into that franchise in Auckland, I think it's got merit."


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