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May 3, 2012
Worcestershire will decide within the next 48 hours whether they will need to relocate their County Championship match against Surrey.
The game, which starts on Wednesday May 9, is currently scheduled to be played at Worcestershire's New Road home. But with flood water currently covering three pitches on the square and a large portion of the outfield, the club need to make contingency plans.
Worcestershire have already arranged to stage Monday's CB40 game against the Netherlands in Kidderminster and will shortly make a decision over whether the Surrey game also needs to be moved. Surrey have offered to stage the game at the Kia Oval but Worcestershire declined. The club has a deal with Birmingham League club Kidderminster Victoria whereby they can utilise the ground in the case of flooding.
"Kidderminster is our second home," David Leatherdale, Worcestershire's chief executive, told ESPNcricinfo, "and if we can't stage the game at New Road, we'll stage it at Kidderminster."
The game will also be notable for the appearance of Kevin Pietersen, who will be playing for Surrey ahead of the Test series against West Indies. While Pietersen may find the facilities at Kidderminster a little basic, he should be familiar with them. He played a season for Cannock in the Birmingham League and, in 2002, played at the ground with Nottinghamshire when he was dismissed for 13 and 0 by Alamgir Sheriyar. Pietersen should enjoy the flat pitch and quick outfield, though. Kidderminster Victoria's groundsman, who moved to them from West Bromwich Dartmouth over the winter, was the Birmingham League groundsman of the year in 2011.
The good news for Worcestershire is that the flood water does not look nearly as dirty as that which forced them to abandon New Road for much of the 2007 season. On that occasion, the flood water carried with it sewage and slurry from the fields. This flood should prove far easier - and less expensive - to clear. However, while the club report that the flood waters have receded a little over the last 24 hours, more rain is forecast.
Worcestershire have also started to explore the market for an overseas player to replace Saeed Ajmal, who has pulled out of his deal to represent them in T20 this season. Sohail Tanvir, the Pakistan left-arm seamer and hard-hitting batsman, is one option.
"Steve Rhodes has spoken to his agent and there is a chance that he will join us for the final eight matches of the T20 season," Leatherdale confirmed. "But it is early days."
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: George Dobell
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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