Hampshire and Lancashire get ODI consolation

Published: Saturday, May 6, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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London:Hampshire and Lancashire received a measure of consolation for missing out on staging lucrative Ashes Tests after the announcement they would each host One-day internationals for the next two years.

Both counties were angered by the decision of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to award Cardiff, which has never staged a major England game, a Test against Australia in three years' time.

Hampshire chairman Rod Brasgrove suggested he might have to reconsider his role in cricket while Lancashire were seething at what they saw was a breaking of a promise by the ECB to let Old Trafford stage Ashes Tests in 2005 and 2009 after they'd missed out in 2001.

However, Hampshire's Rose Bowl ground will host its first ever One-day international against India in 2007.

Many England players voiced concerns at the length of their recent seven-match One-day series in India.

Even so the ECB have agreed to an identical-length series against the same opponents next season - the longest ever staged on English soil.

In addition to the Rose Bowl, England will also face India at The Oval, Bristol, Edgbaston, Headingley, Lord's and Old Trafford.

Indian officials fear that Twenty20 could undermine One-day internationals, the main cash generator for cricket's richest nation.

That has led the ECB to schedule two Twenty20 games against the West Indies at the start of the 2007 season at The Oval, while there will be a three-match One-day series at Edgbaston, Lord's and Trent Bridge.

Old Trafford will host its first Twenty20 international in 2008 against New Zealand, while Chester-le-Street will host one against South Africa later the same season.

A five-match One-day series has been arranged against each of the touring sides in 2008 - with Bristol, The Oval, Chester-le-Street, Edgbaston and Lord's hosting New Zealand.

The Oval, Cardiff, Headingley, Lord's and Trent Bridge will be the venues for the One-day series against South Africa.

But with only seven Tests in an English season Paul Sheldon, chief executive of Oval-based Surrey, said the expansion in the number of international grounds meant some counties faced huge financial risks.

"The ECB have taken a short-term view of taking as much money as they can but this is short-term gain for long-term pain.

"The guarantee of Test matches enables these grounds to go out and raise money from the banks. But the ECB have decided on expanding Test-match grounds to 11 or 12 and there are only seven Tests to go around.

"That means some of those grounds could go out of business," Sheldon told Thursday's Daily Telegraph.

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