England news March 14, 2012

MCC and Glamorgan explore Test switch

The MCC and Glamorgan are set to swap international fixtures in 2013, with Lord's likely to host a Test originally set to be in Cardiff and Glamorgan hosting Champions Trophy games. Lord's was originally allocated five ICC Champions Trophy ODIs in 2013 while Glamorgan was allocated a Test against New Zealand in the same year.

The move will revive questions about the viability of Cardiff as an international venue. The club, not helped by inclement weather, has struggled to attract spectators in sufficient numbers and has suffered significant losses on some of the international games they have hosted.

Painfully few people attended the Test between England and Sri Lanka last May which led to Glamorgan losing around £1.2 million on the game and failing to meet deadlines for staging payments due to the ECB. As a consequence, they forfeited the right to host this year's Test against West Indies which was transferred to Lord's instead. Last month Glamorgan were obliged to secure another loan of around £1.3 million from a group of private investors to avoid the prospect of going into administration.

Lord's, by contrast, continues to enjoy excellent sales - both corporate and general - for all international matches. Just as importantly, the move would underline the MCC's preference for Test cricket over the limited-overs formats. When the MCC applied to host the ICC event in 2013 they were under the impression that it would be a game in the inaugural Test Championship.

Only when pre-existing ICC deals with broadcasters scuppered those plans was the decision made to revert to the Champions Trophy format of ODI games. As the ICC also retain the power to run - and provide tickets for - their own events the MCC would have been required to give up a large number of the seats usually reserved for their members had they hosted the Champions Trophy games. As a resolutely independent minded organised, that is not something the MCC relishes.

"We have been informed that there may be an opportunity to swap our 2013 New Zealand Test match in return for hosting five ICC Champions Trophy matches, including a semi-final, in the same year," a statement released by Glamorgan said. "Without doubt, the opportunity to stage a number of high profile Champions Trophy matches in Cardiff is an exciting one and would provide a fascinating range of matches and do much to continue to raise the international standing of Wales as destination for top class cricket.

"Discussions are at an early stage and understandably, there are a number of complex matters that need to be considered and resolved prior to any final decision being made. Glamorgan will not agree to a swap unless it is clearly in the interests of the club to do so."

During the forthcoming season Glamorgan will host an ODI between England and South Africa on August 24 followed immediately by the Friends Life t20 Finals Day on August 25. The club said it has sold 70% of tickets for the ODI and 75% of the first release of tickets for Finals Day.

Glamorgan are also currently scheduled to host an Ashes Test in 2015. While the club's management insist that the vision to bring international cricket to Cardiff was always going to be a long term project, the jury remains out on whether it is an achievable aim. Several other venues, many of them vying with something approaching desperation for the raft of international fixtures Cardiff have been granted, could be forgiven for asking what Glamorgan has done to earn such a high profile and easily marketed fixture.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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