Cricket - Yorkshire boss voices Test concerns

Yorkshire chief executive Mark Arthur has warned that the current number of international grounds in England is "unsustainable".

PA Sport
Cricket - Yorkshire boss voices Test concerns
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Mark Arthur insists too many counties are bidding to stage international games

The six traditional Test grounds have been joined in recent years by Hampshire's Rose Bowl, Glamorgan's SWALEC Stadium and Durham's ICG Stadium, while Bristol has ODI status and Taunton is close to being handed the same. As a result the battle for matches - especially the most desirable mid-summer Tests and higher profile limited-overs games - is increasingly intense.

"Now there's a huge bidding process with 10, soon to be 11, international grounds it's unsustainable really," Arthur said.

"There's a finite amount of international cricket in this country, to spread it among 11 international grounds and expect all those grounds to be at the same level as the top international grounds around the world, that's not going to work.

"We're all after a sustainable game of cricket at club, county and international level, we have to work together to get that balance.

"You don't want clubs bankrupting themselves just to stage matches. Clubs are asked to improve the fabric of the grounds, so you need positive cash-flow in order to do that.

"It used to be a rota basis. You could set business plans according to when you knew you would miss out on a particular Test match. On an eight-year programme you knew what you would be getting but now there is a huge bidding process."

The pre-eminent status of Lord's mean it has every chance of holding on to its two Tests each year, meaning other venues can sometimes appear to be feeding on scraps despite huge investments in infrastructure.

Arthur also addressed the difference between the heaving crowds that are a feature of Lord's and The Oval and the relative struggle to fill more northerly stadiums such as Headingley.

"It's important to understand that not everybody has the spending capacity of those people that live in the south-east of the country," he said. "That has to be factored in by the major match group when they're allocating matches. There's a finite amount of money that you can charge out in the provinces."

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