English counties opposed to Lord's getting two-Test guarantee as part of redevelopment plan

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London, Feb.5 (ANI): Plans to redevelop The Lord's cricket ground in London are facing strong county resistance, particularly over moves to guarantee two Test matches a year for the home of cricket.

Several clubs have urged the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to review the distribution of fixtures by its Major Matches Group, The Times reports.

There is also concern that crowd figures will not justify staging seven Tests in England every summer in future.

Keith Bradshaw, the secretary of MCC, has asked the ECB for this guarantee as "a prerequisite" to the 400 million pound redevelopment of the ground going ahead.

A club spokesman said that discussions were continuing with the ECB, but the project, which is likely to take ten years to complete, could be hindered if an agreement is not reached.

Competing clubs that have been granted Test status, such as Durham and Hampshire, cannot foresee any form of guarantee being given.

The paper quoted David Harker, Durham Cricket County CEO, as saying: "A number of counties, including ourselves, are pressing the ECB over the whole allocation of Tests. We did not receive any guarantees when we developed Chester-le-Street."

"The trouble is that the ECB is wound up with its television listings battle at the moment. Lord's is an iconic place, but the days of allotting Test cricket to a few traditional grounds are in the past. If it were granted two Tests a year, I would feel happier if some of the revenue was ploughed back into emerging venues," he added.

Rod Bransgrove, the chairman of Hampshire, who will stage their inaugural Test at the Rose Bowl next year, said: "It is a big ask to have two Tests a season. There are not enough to go round for one for every club, let alone two. And how many Tests a year should London stage? If Lord's have two [and the Brit Oval, one], that will probably be 40 per cent of the total, for if you look at the attendance figures, it is difficult to imagine the ECB staging seven Tests a year ad infinitum."

The other assurances that Bradshaw wants in place before the redevelopment of Lord's starts are planning approval from Westminster City Council, the backing of the membership and an agreement with Rifkind Levy Partnership, which owns a long lease on the disused railway tunnels at the Nursery End.

MCC committee members, who were addressed last week by Giles Clarke, the chairman of the ECB, believe that if they support him over listings, they should be given a formal or informal guarantee of two Test matches a year at Lord's.

At present, Lord's is guaranteed two Tests for 2011, one in both 2013 and 2016 and none in 2012, 2014 and 2015. (ANI)

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