Lancashire Cricket Club are to host two of England’s Test matches against the West Indies behind closed doors, the England and Wales Cricket Board have announced.
Subject to approval by the UK government, England will open their summer at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton on July 8 and begin the first of two back-to-back games at Emirates Old Trafford eight days later.
Arriving in the UK in a week’s time, the West Indies will use Old Trafford for three weeks to quarantine and train.
Venues were given a five-day deadline to put forward their interest in hosting games, with the ECB’s independent Host Venue Panel (HVP) using a criteria concerning issues such as biosecurity, COVID-19 testing and medical screening provision and social distancing to consider which venues would be suitable. Edgbaston will be used as a contingency and training venue.
Lancashire Cricket Chief Executive, Daniel Gidney, said: “We are delighted that Emirates Old Trafford has been selected as one of just two venues that will host the West Indies Test series in a behind closed doors environment next month and that we can play our part in the return of international cricket in this country.
“We have the team, the experience and the facilities at Emirates Old Trafford to make this work and as a Club, we’re more than happy to support the ECB in making these fixtures happen. The importance of re-starting international cricket should not be underestimated as it will provide a huge boost to the mental health and well-being of supporters of the game across the country, all of the players and coaches involved, as well as the staff at Lancashire Cricket. It will also protect vital broadcast distributions and jobs across the whole of cricket.
“The Club will work alongside the ECB and the Government to ensure that specific measures are implemented across the stadium and our own ‘Safe in one place’ programme with everything you need being on-site, in terms of space within the grounds of the stadium, over 600 parking spaces, on-site accommodation and sizable hospitality suites such as The Point, which in usual circumstances can hold over 1,200 people. The health and safety of everyone involved in delivering an international matchday is the number one priority for us.”
Test Series schedule:
1st Test v West Indies: 8-12 July – Ageas Bowl
2nd Test v West Indies: 16-20 July – Emirates Old Trafford
3rd Test v West Indies: 24-28 July – Emirates Old Trafford