Luck of the Welsh

Rose Bowl rocked by failure to secure Ashes Test

It's a bit of a surprise the Rose Bowl being overlooked. Their Test went well organisation-wise and it's just that the weather was foul.

Bob Willis
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The venues for the Ashes Tests in England in 2013 and 2015 have been announced, and the Rose Bowl will count themselves unfortunate to lose out to Cardiff.

Lord's, Old Trafford, Trent Bridge, Chester-le-Street and The Oval will stage the 2013 clashes while Lord's, Trent Bridge, Cardiff, Edgbaston and The Oval have been selected for 2015.

With Headingley declining the opportunity to bid for a match amid financial struggles, Trent Bridge benefits by securing responsibilities in both series.

Cardiff controversially staged their first Test match in 2009 by using Welsh development agency money - which meant the bidding process wasn't a level playing field. It was the highest bidder in those days but that's all changed now.

These days, you bid for various packages and you've got to convince the ECB that you're the best bidder. Lord's and The Oval have long-term staging agreements, so they get an Ashes Test match each time. They can charge a ferocious amount of money for tickets in London, so that's always a healthy situation for them because they can create the most revenue.

Losses

The Rose Bowl, Emirates Durham and Cardiff are in a different category but now they've all been given Test match status, we've got an equation where we've got nine grounds and only five Ashes Test matches to fit in, so there are always going to be unlucky grounds.

Headingley lost a fortune when they staged Australian v Pakistan last year and Cardiff lost a fortune this year when they staged England v Sri Lanka - so much so that they pulled out of hosting a West Indies game next summer. That match has now been moved to Lord's, so there'll be two Test matches there next year - as there normally is.

Headingley didn't bid for Ashes Test matches because of the money they lost the last time coupled with the fact that Yorkshire have now been relegated into the Division Two of the County Championship. I think it's going to be a few lean years up at Headingley.

One feels sorry for Hampshire because they were unlucky with the weather ruining their Test match this summer and you'd have thought that, having secured Test match status with two Ashes Test matches in the space of two years, they'd have been given a game. They're probably the biggest losers and Trent Bridge are the biggest winners.

Unlucky

It's a bit of a surprise the Rose Bowl being overlooked. Their Test went well organisation-wise and it's just that the weather was foul. I think they deserve an Ashes Test match if Durham have got one. I would have given the Test match that Cardiff have got to the Rose Bowl this time to make things more fair and equitable.

Old Trafford, meanwhile, went through a two-year legal process for planning permission for development. It was all tied up with a supermarket construction next door to the ground and there was opposition to that because another consortium wanted to build a different supermarket down the road.

That all stalled the development. They've also moved the square around 90 degrees and they haven't played any County Championship at Old Trafford this season - so it's rather ironic that they've won that competition without playing a match on their home ground.

One hopes that with a fair wind, all the construction on Old Trafford can be done by the beginning of the 2013 season so this can be a very special occasion for the place. To be honest, it's dropped well behind the other Test match grounds in terms of facilities for the public.

There's always going to be an argument about whether England should be playing Test match cricket in Wales, but the fact is that Glamorgan are part of the 18-county family and it's called the England & Wales Cricket Board. I don't suppose there is as much hatred as regards the cricket team as there is the rugby team when they go to Cardiff!... but the argument will go on.

If you asked the England cricketers the grounds they'd love to play at, Old Trafford and Edgbaston would be very high on their list. They get fantastic support at Edgbaston particularly - probably the best and most vocal support in the land is at Edgbaston and they've got a tremendous winning record in Tests at Old Trafford. Having said that, it's a new pitch there so that may change.