The Ashes: Mayors want the ECB to change where the series will be played in 2027
The mayors of Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire have asked the England and Wales Cricket Board to change where the men’s Ashes will be played in 2027.
In four years, neither Old Trafford nor Headingley will play a Test.
In a message to Richard Thompson, the head of the ECB, Andy Burnham of Greater Manchester and Tracy Brabin of West Yorkshire said they were “disappointed.”
In 2027, Southampton, along with Lord’s, The Oval, Edgbaston, and Trent Bridge, will host the first men’s Ashes Test.
This will be the first men’s Ashes Test at the Nottinghamshire ground since 2015.
As things stand, the current Ashes Test at Old Trafford will be the last one held north of Nottingham for men until 2031.
Ben Stokes, the captain of England and a player for Durham, was born in Cumbria and said he was “devastated” by the ruling.
The letter from Burnham and Brabin said, “Headingley and Old Trafford are two of England’s most famous cricket grounds. Both have been the scene of historic Ashes moments, from Ian Botham’s heroics in 1981 to Ben Stokes’ “Miracle of Headingley” in 2019.”
“Few stadiums have fans who are as enthusiastic or as different as those at Headingley and Old Trafford, as a number of England players have said in recent days.
“Lancashire and Yorkshire have a well-known rivalry in cricket, but this is a problem that brings people on both sides of the Pennines together.
“We urge you to change your mind and make sure that more iconic Ashes moments happen in the north of England in 2027.”
In 2027, the women’s Ashes Test will be held at Headingley, and the men’s will be at Old Trafford against a team that hasn’t been chosen yet.
In June, the ECB stated where its biggest matches would be held until 2031.
Matches are put on at different places based on a number of factors, such as getting the most people to attend, keeping the same amount of geographic spread across England and Wales as in the past, and making sure the venues can stay in business.
At the moment, there are seven grounds in this country where men’s Test cricket is played regularly. In a five-match Ashes series, two of these grounds would not be used.
Ageas Bowl in Southampton will be the 10th ground in the UK to host a men’s Ashes Test. In 2031, the women’s Ashes Test will be held there.
As one of the ECB’s “bio-bubbles,” it was a key part of how cricket was played during the pandemic. There, England played three Tests and a few white-ball games. The International Cricket Council also held the final of the 2021 World Test Championship on the south coast.
Lord’s and The Oval have always been the sites of men’s Ashes Tests because they are in London and are the two largest grounds in the country.
Edgbaston in Birmingham will host men’s Ashes Tests again in 2027, but not in 2031. It has done so for three straight series.
“We know that the ECB’s criteria for awarding Test matches include maximizing attendance and making sure that matches are held in different parts of the country,” the mayors’ letter says.
“It seems even more strange that a region with 14.9 million people and 14,500 square miles, which loves cricket so much, won’t get a men’s Ashes Test in 2027 while the south gets three.
“It doesn’t seem right that London always hosts three Tests every summer, when cricket needs to do more to get people interested in the game all over the country.”