Will continue to be allocated Tests until 2019 June 10, 2004

Headingley's Test future guaranteed

Wisden Cricinfo staff

© Getty Images
Headingley's future as a Test ground was secured yesterday when the ECB guaranteed that it will continue to stage matches until 2019. The assurance was welcome news to Yorkshire who can now approach their bankers with a view to borrowing about £15 million needed to develop and buy the venue.

At the moment, Headingley is owned by a third party, with much of the revenue for big matches going to them rather than to the county. If Yorkshire can buy the freehold then it will make long-term financial sense as well as making raising finance more straightforward.

Stage one of an ambitious plan to bring the ground up to modern standards has already been completed, but it has received what can politely be described as a lukewarm reception from many in the media, one describing it as "so bland that the ground has lost all sense of history". The judgment hit home, with Robin Smith, Yorkshire's chairman, promising "a more adventurous architectural project" when the Football Stand End is renovated.

Some elements of the crowd - inevitably with the Western Terrace being singled out - were singled out for comment during the Test. While many argue that the media unfairly pick on the Leeds crowd, there were enough separate reports for it to be clear that a problem, albeit with a small minority, remains.

And it's not only the spectators and the stands which attracted criticism. Writing in Tuesday's Daily Telegraph, Geoff Boycott warned that the state of the pitch was a serious worry. "Everybody is working hard to get Yorkshire on a solid footing but if they don't solve the problem of the pitch, they will be in danger of losing Test cricket," he wrote. "There won't be much controversy because England won, but if they had lost there would have been all hell on."