Lancashire offer 'bio-secure' venue to host Tests

AFP
Fans watch a match between England and Afghanistan at Old Trafford during the 2019 Cricket World Cup. Photo: AFP

Lancashire County Cricket Club's CEO Daniel Gidney said that they were in a position to host Tests this year on their Old Trafford ground despite the coronavirus pandemic which claimed the life of the chairman David Hodgkiss at 71.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) hope they can kickstart a season delayed by coronavirus by rescheduling the three-Test series between England and the West Indies that was meant to take place in June, in July.

Australia and Pakistan are also scheduled to tour England in the coming months.

Old Trafford was originally due to host the second Test against Pakistan, which was scheduled to start on August 7.

Should the current lockdown be relaxed sufficiently to allow cricket to go ahead, Tests could be played behind closed doors at "bio-secure" grounds with on-site accommodation such as Old Trafford.

That would allow players and officials to be monitored while restricting their access to the outside world.

"We have made a formal expression of interest to the ECB," said Gidney. "We believe we have the capability, the experience and facilities on site in supporting them put on a bio-secure event."

Lancashire are also thinking big for when cricket can return in earnest -- including plans to promote themselves in the game's biggest market.

"David's legacy is to complete the ground redevelopment, a new stand, another hotel and work with the local authority on a leisure centre," said Gidney.

"We also decided after last year's World Cup match between India and Pakistan to look east and an Indian growth strategy -- to make Lancashire the second Indian team so if the fan say supports Mumbai Indians then their English team is us.

"We are looking at both building the fanbase and players playing for Lancashire.

"The objective is definitely getting more Asian voices involved in English cricket -- it can only be a good thing for the game."

Lancashire offer 'bio-secure' venue to host Tests