ECB told to tighten up after Old Trafford fiasco

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> The ECB have been told to take a closer look at potential venues before deciding where to play matches following an investigation into the T20 fiasco.

Updated: September 12, 2009 18:23 IST
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The England and Wales Cricket Board have been told to take a closer look at potential international venues before deciding where to play matches following an investigation into the Twenty20 fiasco against Australia at Old Trafford earlier this month.

The decision to abandon the match without a ball being bowled, primarily due to a wet patch on the bowlers' approach at the Brian Statham end of the ground, sparked widespread criticism.

Heavy rain had fallen in the build-up to the September 1 match but the weather had cleared by the time play was due to start.

However, umpires Peter Hartley and Nigel Llong deemed the playing area unfit for international cricket.

Part of the problem was that the square is being turned around in time for the 2011 season and drainage work done last winter did not include the entire outfield.

Old Trafford had already been denied an Ashes Test this year and an extensive inquiry into the shambles has led to a recommendation that drainage facilities and permanent floodlights should play a more significant part in the criteria for being awarded international fixtures from 2011.

David Collier, the ECB chief executive, said Friday: "We are bitterly disappointed for the 17,000 spectators who had spent time and money attending the match and aim to do everything in our power to ensure play whenever possible.

"The board have received a series of recommendations which they will now progress - including the suggestion that drainage facilities and permanent floodlights for matches awarded from 2011 become a significant part of the balanced scorecard used when the major match group award such matches."

The ECB are now to recommend a new match protocol for international Twenty20 to the International Cricket Council as a matter of urgency.

The report makes further recommendations, including that a Twenty20 can be rescheduled if another venue is available and that team captains can agree changes to the rules to allow play to go ahead.

Responding to the ECB inquiry, Lancashire chief executive Jim Cumbes said: "We commend the Board for its thorough investigation of circumstances surrounding the game, and the balanced conclusions that were drawn.

"Whilst in full agreement the safety of players is of paramount importance, the suggestions that, in future similar circumstances, the ground authority should be consulted and that in marginal conditions play should be maximised, are very welcome."

There was better news for Old Trafford on Friday when the ECB annouced the Manchester ground would stage one of the two Tests between England and Bangladesh in 2010.

The Bangladesh fixture will be the first Test Match played at Old Trafford since England beat New Zealand in May 2008.

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