So what makes a Test match ground become a favourite venue for supporters? Is
it the good memories, great results, history or the atmosphere? Across the length and breadth of England we now have numerous Test match venues that are competing for the right to stage Test matches each summer.
The competition to be selected as a preferred Test match ground is so intense that all the established venues have gone through transformations, some radically, in order to keep up with the modern demands of spectators and to compete against the brand new grounds that have been built over the last decade
So what venue do supporters like most of all in England?
Hampshire's Rose Bowl and Durham's Chester-le-Street are newly built venues that have been erected with a view to attracting Test match cricket. Sophia Gardens in Cardiff has already hosted an Ashes Test match after going through huge redevelopment. Gloucestershire's Bristol venue has also been recognised with International cricket in the past. All the above grounds will host further Internationals this season and will continue to enhance their reputations.
Some of the more established Test grounds have had to up their game in order to retain Test matches, even if it has meant missing out occasionally. Headingley and Old Trafford are two such grounds. Both have had a feeling of tiredness recently but in the last couple of years they have undergone changes that have enhanced their pedigree and ensured they have not been cast into the wilderness. They are now reaping the rewards.
The Oval and Edgbaston have also undergone huge changes with a massive stand erected at each venue recently. This has increased capacity and also added greatly to the match day experience for supporters. Even Lords has not stood still. Lords is very restricted in what it can do, given the proximity of apartments, but it has become a modern stadium whilst keeping alive the great history that it possesses. Lords is guaranteed at least one Test match each
summer but this has not stopped the authorities from embracing modernisation. Despite it being the biggest venue in England it still gives supporters the sense of closeness to the action on the field.
Trent Bridge, for me, has to be a favourite. It is always thought of fondly by players and spectators alike. It is by no means a large venue but it does have an intimacy and viewing options that give supporters an ideal perspective of the game from all angles. With the old pavilion dwarfed by modern stands the venue retains its history whilst embracing the future. It is certainly not a venue that is standing still in the face of competition and it knows it cannot
afford to, just like the other venues mentioned.
English cricket is certainly spoilt by a plethora of venues which can only enhance the competition for International cricket games. With so many grounds vying for Test match cricket it has ensured that the traditional Test match grounds no longer have Tests gifted to them year after year. It has also ensured that the income from International cricket is spread further around the counties and not restricted to the big six. More supporters have found that
they are now much nearer to a potential Test match venue than they have ever been before, which can only be good for the future of the game.
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