International cricket set to be welcomed back to Trafford

Trafford Council Leader Andrew Western has welcomed news that international sporting action is set to return to the borough following the announcement that Lancashire Cricket Club will host two Test matches this summer.

England's three-Test series against West Indies will now begin on 8 July in Southampton, followed by two Tests at Old Trafford on 16 July and 24 July subject to government approval.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced the three matches will be played behind closed doors with no spectators at the bio-secure venues, which both have hotels on site.

West Indies arrive on 9 June and will be based at Old Trafford for initial quarantine and training.

The original schedule featured Test matches at The Oval, Edgbaston and Lord's between 4-29 June but was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Hundreds of thousands of sports fans flock to the borough every year to watch football and cricket but matches at Lancashire Cricket Club and Manchester United FC are set to be played behind doors for the foreseeable future.

Cllr Western, said:

This is excellent news for Lancashire Cricket Club and for Trafford. Like thousands of sports fans across the country I am keen to see a return to sporting action provided it is safe to do so for all involved - players, match officials and club staff.

I understand there will some frustration for fans who can’t attend, but this is the safest way to get the game played again. Trafford has a long and proud history of hosting world class sporting events and we look forward to welcoming fans back into grounds when it is safe to do so.”

Lancashire Cricket Chief Executive, Daniel Gidney, said:

We have the team, the experience and the facilities at Emirates Old Trafford to make this work and as a club, we’re more than happy to support the ECB in making these fixtures happen.

The importance of re-starting international cricket should not be underestimated as it will provide a huge boost to the mental health and well-being of supporters of the game across the country, all of the players and coaches involved, as well as the staff at Lancashire Cricket. It will also protect vital broadcast distributions and jobs across the whole of cricket.”

ECB Director of Events, Steve Elworthy - who is leading on English cricket’s bio-secure operational plans - said:

Our main objective is to deliver a safe environment for all stakeholders including players, match officials, operational staff, essential venue staff, broadcasters and media.

We are in daily dialogue with Government and our medical team, who have been incredibly supportive during this period. These are our proposed dates and they remain subject to UK Government approval.

We would like to thank Cricket West Indies for their co-operation and dedication in making this tour a reality, and we all look forward to the prospect of cricket returning in the coming weeks.”

Posted on Tuesday 2nd June 2020