Ambitious Glamorgan want Tests at Cardiff
Glamorgan have unveiled ambitious plans for the redevelopment of Sophia Gardens which could see Test cricket being played in Cardiff by the end of the decade.
"This is something that the whole Welsh public should want to see happen," said Paul Russell, Glamorgan's chairman, at the launch of the appeal to raise up to £12 million for the project. "Cardiff is the capital city of Wales and Glamorgan are the only county in English cricket from Wales. Therefore, this is the natural home of Test cricket in Wales and it will bring to the city and to the club a huge kudos."
The plans will see the ground expanded to a 15,000 capacity, with a new pavilion at the Cathedral End, and a grandstand built on the site of the existing pavilion. The redevelopment includes two other buildings and the usual corporate boxes.
The first stage, costing around £4 million and starting at the end of the 2004 season (planning permission permitting), involves rebuilding the pavilion and erecting floodlights.
"The 125-year lease that we have on the ground excludes the use of [permanent] floodlights," Russell explained to the Western Mail. "We believe that we can get around this obstacle. It might be possible that the pylons are not as high as some, depending on how many we actually need." If the floodlights get the go ahead then Glamorgan will stage about six extra day-night matches each season.
When the redevelopment is finished then Russell believes that Cardiff will be suitable for Test cricket. "Durham have shown the way forward," he added. "We have spoken to them at length."