England & Wales Cricket Board June 7, 2011

Lord's misses out as Cardiff wins Windies Test

ESPNcricinfo staff

West Indies are set to become the first touring team since the 1998 Sri Lankans to miss out on a Test at Lord's, after it emerged that the England & Wales Cricket Board had offered next summer's fixture to Cardiff, in spite of the fact that the host county, Glamorgan, bid little more than half the £1million offered by MCC for the privilege.

The full itinerary for 2012 has yet to be announced, but it is understood that the ECB's major match group, an independent body chaired by the former Trade Unionist, Lord Morris of Handsworth, has recommended the West Indies Tests should be played at Trent Bridge, Edgbaston and Cardiff, with South Africa's tour later in the summer going to Lord's, The Oval and Headingley.

With London already set to host the 2012 Olympics next year, there is some merit in the ECB's decision to dilute the sporting focus on the capital, which will still be staging two of the summer's six Tests. Nevertheless, the route they have taken appears to fly in the face of their own policy of competitive tendering, with quotes from Paul Russell, the Glamorgan chairman, indicating that their bid for the West Indies' game cannot have been more than £600,000.

"We bid just over £2m for this game," said Russell last week, following a disappointing first Test against Sri Lanka, during which just 922 spectators turned up to watch England's thrilling final-day victory. "We have a West Indies Test match next year and the fee for that is less than 25% of what we paid for this game."

Russell also admitted to a "conceptual difficulty" in establishing Test cricket as a blue-riband sport in Wales, and Glamorgan needed a financial bail-out from the ECB last summer after the Pakistan match-fixing row, coupled with poor weather, wrecked the attendances at back-to-back Twenty20 games in September.

Lord's, however, is also feeling the financial strain, having made a loss of £2.4million for 2010. The ECB did offer the sop of a one-day international against West Indies, but MCC turned it down. "The MCC committee did not want to be party to an agreement that would deny the chance to watch Test cricket at Lord's," said a spokesman.

Relations between the ECB and MCC hit a new low on Monday evening, when the launch of the new Sri Lanka Premier League, scheduled to be held in the Long Room on Thursday, had to be cancelled because the event clashed with a Friends Life t20 fixture between Middlesex and Essex.

A statement read: "The agreement between ECB and FL precludes a launch of another competition, especially a Twenty20 competition, on the same day or indeed during a period set aside for FL media activity."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on June 10, 2011, 1:21 GMT

    since the series vs South Africa is likely to attract more interest than the west indies tour would it not make more sense to schedule the South Africa tour early in the season before the Olympics start on the 27th of July in order to reduce competition? doesn't the ECB remember how lame and boring the wisden trophy was when it was scheduled in the cold & rainy part of the 09 season? This series may be even worse because if the WICB have their way Gayle, Sarwan, Chanderpaul, Taylor & Fidel may not be selected for that tour!! either way a sensible schedule would have the ODI games being played during the Olympics. England sucks @ one day cricket so they may find it easier to attract crowds for test cricket as they are getting pretty good in the longer format of the game.

  • Rob on June 8, 2011, 14:00 GMT

    What a snub to the West Indies and all for petty politics by the ECB. To turn down a far bigger financial bid from the MCC in favour of holding the test match at the unappealing Cardiff ground makes zero sense. So, 30,000 a day at Lord's or a quarter of that - at best - in Cardiff. Apologies to the Windies....

  • Dan on June 8, 2011, 9:00 GMT

    If it hadn't been for the conclusion that England engineered the recent match at Cardiff would have rightly been considered a debacle. The venue can't be blamed for the rain, nowhere in Britain is immune from that, but the tiny capacity, moribund pitch, absent crowds and its distance from most England cricket supporters all scream that Cardiff is not a Test venue. It might be fine for the Lions or the odd limited over international but the ECB should never again inflict a Test there on the public. The ECB love to claim that impending poverty drove them into Sky TV's morbid embrace but now apparently they can afford to turn down £600000 and condemn the West Indies to playing a game in front of empty seats on a dead wicket at a glorified County ground at the same time. Funny sort of penury.

  • Siddharth on June 8, 2011, 6:04 GMT

    Test cricket for ireland..yes..surely..,they deserve a chance..moving upward all the time..

  • Muthuvel on June 7, 2011, 21:10 GMT

    the reason why england is put in many indian cities is because its a preferred team and can pull visitors in all cities to a bigger extent than say a south africa, although similar in cricketing index.

  • Andrew on June 7, 2011, 20:26 GMT

    Lord's is unlike any other ground uin trhe world - it's THE place everyone wants to play at. Should feature in every sigle series. I agree with others, why are Tests going to Cardiff and Southampton - Durham's not quite so bad but it's ridiculous that the traditional big venues are missing out. Will we be having tests at Derby and Taunton next. Unfortunately it's a bit of a world wide trend - in NZ Eden Park in Auckland hasn't hosted a Test for 6 years - what's that about?

  • Rahul on June 7, 2011, 20:13 GMT

    @Narkovian, pretty much agree with that. In answer to your question, it's because in India about every major city has a 40,000+ seater stadium (eg Kochi has an IPL team due to stadium size of 50 000, yet is not even in the top 50 largest cities in India). And, of course, there are lots of stadiums (due to the cricket crazy public) in lots of large cities (due to the massive population). I think the BCCI try and 'rotate' as much as possible...and its not only England who are lucky to play at one big ground. Any touring team is. It's unfair on the away side and should be changed, maybe by the BCCI giving tests to these places with famous stadia and large crowds, and the meaningless ODIs to the other stadiums? That said, I don't see how exculding India (with the large North-London Indian population and the fact that they are the number 1 team) will ever be excluded from a Lord's test

  • Stuart on June 7, 2011, 19:10 GMT

    Ridiculous. A full Lords with some of the best facilities in the world or a 90% empty Cardiff with white sheets for sightscreens.

  • Richard on June 7, 2011, 18:47 GMT

    1/ Lords should be on every tourists schedule. But they need to buck that wicket up. It is becoming a bore. 2/ Cardiff was full for ENG/AUS , but will never be full for much else. Just a sop to Wales. Does not deserve a Test, certainly against a major nation. 3/ I agree with others. Not having Tests at Old Trafford, Headingly etc, in favour of such as Cardiff, Durham, Hampshire is a PC joke.. 4/ The prices charged by ECB it matters little to me, as I dont go. But I do hate to watch crciket even on TV with empty grounds. Minimum of £60 per day is stupid. I went to SCG 4 years ago and it was only about $25 AUS dollars if my memory serves me right. Usual rip-off Britain. 5/ If I was to pick one particular nation to NOT get Lords on its schedule, I would pick India. Whenever ENG go there these days we get bundled off to all sorts of remote places no-one has ever heard of. Lucky if we get to just one of the "major" grounds. Eden Gdn, Bombay, Delhi, Chennai etc. Why is that?

  • paul on June 7, 2011, 14:57 GMT

    Stupid decision, we already saw what the public thought of the 1st Test against SL, imo it shouldn't be on the test cricket calender. Poor wicket, no atmosphere, poor ground, the whole place doesn't lend itself to 5 exciting days if cricket, contrary to the final day collapse of the SL's.

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