Massive few days ahead for Hampshire chairman Rod Bransgrove

Rod Bransgrove

Rod Bransgrove

First published in Sport Basingstoke Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Editor

IT won’t only be Alastair Cook under the spotlight when the England v India Test series moves onto the outskirts of Southampton this weekend.

The England skipper will enter the third Test with his side 1-0 down and his form and captaincy coming under increasing fire.

Former England skippers Michael Vaughan and Mike Atherton are just two high profile men who believe Cook should either resign or be sacked.

Though the media spotlight will be firmly shone on Cook, of more interest to Hampshire officials in general – and chairman Rod Bransgrove in particular – will be how The Ageas Bowl performs.

Bransgrove’s Holy Grail, virtually ever since the stadium was built in time for the start of the 2001 English domestic season, is to see an Ashes Test match in West End.

The awarding of an England v Australia Test remains the pinnacle for international cricket games in this country.

Hampshire have three times bid before, and Bransgrove has always been left frustrated.

The county first bid for an Ashes Test in 2009, and their disappointment was compounded by the fact that Glamorgan’s Swalec Stadium in Cardiff was chosen to host the first Test.

Bransgrove believed that decision was politically influenced, saying ‘The ‘W’ in ECB is silent but powerful’.

That was a reference to the fact that the ECB’s full title is actually The England and Wales Cricket Board.

Not only was Cardiff chosen to host an Ashes Test in 2009, it has also been awarded one in 2015.

Hampshire put in a bid to host an Ashes Test in 2013 or 2015, but in September 2011 received the bad news they had missed out again.

“I am deeply shocked,” Bransgrove said at the time.

After 2015, Australia will next tour England for an Ashes series in 2019 and Bransgrove has already admitted Hampshire will bid.

Though he cannot have done much more so far to put the stadium on the international map, a successful staging of The Ageas Bowl’s second ever Test match in the next few days will certainly heelp.

There has been much comment this summer on the batsman-friendly nature of the Test wickets.

Seamer James Anderson voiced his frustrations after the first Test against India at Trent Bridge had been played out on a similar wicket to the two proceeding Tests against Sri Lanka.

With England needing to take 20 wickets now to square the series, Anderson and co will be hoping The Ageas Bowl’s wicket provides a fairer batsman v bowler contest.

If it does, that will be a plus point in Bransgrove’s bid to bring an Ashes Test to south Hampshire.

England v Australia over potentially five days of Test cricket will forever be a cash cow.

Hampshire’s first Test, a rain-wrecked game against Sri Lanka three years ago, was anything but that.

You have to start somewhere, though (unless you’re Glamorgan, in which case you start with an Ashes Test ...) India are a better box office attraction than Sri Lanka, granted, but even the tourists are now shorn of many of their better known stars such as Tendulkar, Dravid and Ganguly.

Hampshire have not been helped by the fact their Test is due to start on a Sunday, the first such time that has ever happened in England.

It robs them of the income from traditionally busy Test match watching days of Friday and Saturday.

Bransgrove has said that while tickets for the first day have gone well, there are still some available for others.

Still, beggars cannot be choosers.

Hampshire will again do their best to ensure everything runs smoothly for their second Test, with regards to travel arrangements, parking, getting spectators in and out quickly etc.

These are huge days coming for captain Cook and a new-look England national team.

But they are also massive for Bransgrove, the man behind the Ageas Bowl’s birth and subsequent growth into a sporting arena fit for 21st century international cricket.

If he wants an Ashes Test, it’s not just Alastair Cook that needs to deliver.

Comments (5)

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11:36am Thu 24 Jul 14

sallyrdn says...

I'm sure Nigel and his team will produce fine wicket. Not that it will make any difference to our chances of getting and Ashes test. The fact that we have been given a Mickey Mouse test that starts on a Sunday shows how we are viewed by the ECB, they just throw us scraps to keep us quiet!
Also why oh why have we they given us a load of back to back 50 over games that start at 2pm on a weekday? This is fine for those who don't have to work and kids on holiday, but if you have a job and can't get there till 7ish it's pretty rubbish. I have a season ticket (at the moment)so I will go but I would not pay to see less than 1/2 a game. We have no 50 over games at weekends which is when most people can go and get the most enjoyment from the game. The scheduling really needs looking at next year.
I'm sure Nigel and his team will produce fine wicket. Not that it will make any difference to our chances of getting and Ashes test. The fact that we have been given a Mickey Mouse test that starts on a Sunday shows how we are viewed by the ECB, they just throw us scraps to keep us quiet! Also why oh why have we they given us a load of back to back 50 over games that start at 2pm on a weekday? This is fine for those who don't have to work and kids on holiday, but if you have a job and can't get there till 7ish it's pretty rubbish. I have a season ticket (at the moment)so I will go but I would not pay to see less than 1/2 a game. We have no 50 over games at weekends which is when most people can go and get the most enjoyment from the game. The scheduling really needs looking at next year. sallyrdn
  • Score: 9

12:21pm Thu 24 Jul 14

Red_Rock says...

With regard to test matches the ECB are little more than leeches who suck money out of the game. They have no players and no grounds yet they take players from the counties and then have counties all but bankrupting themselves in order to host games to try to raise enough money to survive. Meanwhile the ECB grow rich at cricket's expense. Scandalous.
With regard to test matches the ECB are little more than leeches who suck money out of the game. They have no players and no grounds yet they take players from the counties and then have counties all but bankrupting themselves in order to host games to try to raise enough money to survive. Meanwhile the ECB grow rich at cricket's expense. Scandalous. Red_Rock
  • Score: 7

4:12pm Thu 24 Jul 14

jazzy54zz says...

Yes, what a joke the ECB really are, how can they justify a test match starting on a Sunday and missing out on having play on the Saturday, no thought to the watching public or the struggling counties trying desperately to host a test match.
Good luck Hampshire, I hope the dry weather holds until 6pm on the Thursday.
Yes, what a joke the ECB really are, how can they justify a test match starting on a Sunday and missing out on having play on the Saturday, no thought to the watching public or the struggling counties trying desperately to host a test match. Good luck Hampshire, I hope the dry weather holds until 6pm on the Thursday. jazzy54zz
  • Score: 8

4:24pm Thu 24 Jul 14

dango says...

Surprised he's got time what with making crappy Christmas songs with his awful band 'Strapped for Cash' :-/
Surprised he's got time what with making crappy Christmas songs with his awful band 'Strapped for Cash' :-/ dango
  • Score: -3

12:19pm Fri 25 Jul 14

Red_Rock says...

dango wrote:
Surprised he's got time what with making crappy Christmas songs with his awful band 'Strapped for Cash' :-/
You are not probably intelligent enough to realise it isn't cricket. Or to know the record was for charity.
[quote][p][bold]dango[/bold] wrote: Surprised he's got time what with making crappy Christmas songs with his awful band 'Strapped for Cash' :-/[/p][/quote]You are not probably intelligent enough to realise it isn't cricket. Or to know the record was for charity. Red_Rock
  • Score: 0

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