Worcs back at HQ as flood recedes
Worcestershire will host their championship fixture against Surrey at New Road as originally planned as the flood that struck the ground again last week has receded.
The club had decided to switch the match which starts on Wednesday to Kidderminster following flooding at New Road. But a spell of improved weather and the utilisation of improved drainage since the last major flood in 2007 has seen a swift improvement in the state of the outfield and spectator facilities and Worcestershire have made the decision to return to New Road.
While some areas of the outfield are likely to remain damp, the pitch for the game is on the far side of the square - near the cathedral - and most of the affected areas are beyond the boundary. The flood waters never reached the pitch that has been allocated for the game.
"The outfield is actually bone dry," Worcestershire's chief executive David Leatherdale told ESPNcricinfo. "We had half a million litres of water on there at one time, but it has drained completely and we could have played out there on Monday. The forecast still isn't great, but the rivers are back down to their normal levels and there is no prospect of another flood.
"The last week or so has been painful and it has cost us some money. But, with a new pavilion out of the floodwater, with new drainage and with the notification we had before the flooding, we were able to move everything out of the way, The flood in 2007 cost us over a million pounds; this one will have cost us thousands or tens of thousands.
"The big difference this time was that the flood water was pretty clean. In 2007 we were left with a layer of silt over everything. This time you could hardly tell there has been any water here."
The game is also notable for the reappearance of Kevin Pietersen on domestic duty. Pietersen, who has been performing in the IPL, will be playing his only first-class match ahead of the Test series against West Indies. Former Worcestershire players Gareth Batty, who was given a hostile reception on his previous return to New Road, and Steven Davies also both return to their former club.
George Edwards, a seamer who has been impressing in the 2nd XI, is included in Surrey's 13-man squad. Jade Dernbach and Stuart Meaker are not available, however, as they are required for the England Lions fixture against West Indies.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo