Rod Bransgrove, Hampshire's high-profile chairman, will today announce a £35 million redevelopment of The Rose Bowl, a move clearly aimed at making its claims to be considered for Test status irresistible.
Although the ground is only six years old, Bransgrove appears to have conceded that the stadium suffers from significant transport problems. Almost all major matches staged to date have been accompanied by complaints over access and egress - in essence, there is one road into and out of the ground. There have also been serious concerns over the poor standard of pitches at the venue.
Last summer, Bransgrove made clear his anger when Test status was awarded to Cardiff ahead of The Rose Bowl and it seemed that he might just walk away from the game. But now it is clear he has decided to fight, and his substantial investment will come as a massive relief to Hampshire who are reliant on his cash to bankroll them. Last year, the county lost £900,000.
The development plans are believed to include a second access point at the opposite end of the 150-acre site. The purchase of land adjacent to the existing site will enable the club to install the road, although planning applications have yet to be submitted.
The timing of the announcement is also important as the ECB will announce on December 2 whether the ground will be granted Test status in the future. This follows an inspection last month.