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November 24, 2006
Hampshire's home ground, the Rose Bowl, has moved one step closer to hosting Test matches after being granted provisional category A status. The move follows a report by an ECB inspection team, but England won't be pulling on the whites on the south coast until the venue has met a series of stringent measures which includes improving access.
One year prior to hosting a Test the ground must have completed the development work recently outlined and provided a second road into the venue with additional parking. Transport arrangements have been the subject of heavy criticism at previous one-day and Twenty20 Internationals held at the Rose Bowl.
The pitch will also come under scrutiny and any future Test surface must pass inspection by the ECB pitches consultant and two pitch liaison officers one year before the match. The club must also show that the profits from hosting the matches will be ploughed back into new facilities.
Rod Bransgrove, the Hampshire chairman, said: "This is a momentous day for Hampshire Cricket and the Rose Bowl. We plan to invest a further £35 million in this venue to make it one of the leading Test match venues in world cricket and are pleased that the innovation which this venue delivers for cricket in England and Wales has been recognised with the award of this accredited status.
"We must now continue the hard work to deliver a spectacular international sports and entertainment resort with Test match cricket at its heart. Our plans take cricket at the Rose Bowl 'beyond first class' and will provide fans with the exciting prospect of seeing the world's best in action at an outstanding world-class international cricket ground."
David Collier, the ECB chief executive added: "The Rose Bowl is an exciting new venue with international quality floodlights and impressive development plans which seek to create a truly world class cricket facility."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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