London Stadium to host one England group match at 2019 cricket World Cup

London Stadium to host one England group match at 2019 cricket World Cup
West Ham United currently occupy the Olympic Stadium in Straford Credit: Getty Images

A deal was close to being struck on Monday that would see England play one of their 2019 World Cup group matches at the London Stadium.

The England & Wales Cricket Board was in advanced negotiations to stage two of the tournament’s highest-profile fixtures in front of what would be record crowds for cricket in the UK.

One of those games at the 60,000-seater London 2012 centrepiece would be an England group match – with their clash against Australia looking like the prime candidate.

The second would be one of the other 44 group fixtures most likely to sell out, such as India v Pakistan.

Confirming the ECB was keen to stage games at the stadium, chief executive Tom Harrison said on Monday: “It would be an amazing statement to have 55,000 to 60,000 people in a ground in the UK watching World Cup cricket.”

Andrew Strauss Unveiled as Director of England Cricket alongside ECB CEO Tom Harrison Cricket Credit: Rex Features

An inspection of the ground in January found that the pitch dimensions complied with the necessary requirements for staging one-day internationals.

Harrison added: “It has the right dimensions to play meaningful cricket and there not a lot of other stadiums around the country that have got the capacity to fit the boundaries in.

“We will have to tweak the orientation of the ground slightly. There are minimum boundaries that we have to deliver.”

A drop-in pitch would be used for the two fixtures, with the managing director of the 2019 World Cup, Steve Elworthy, having visited New Zealand – where such wickets are more common – in a bid to ensure the playing surface would be of a high enough standard.

What would amount to a test event could also be held at the London Stadium next year in the shape of an Essex Twenty20 fixture.

West Ham United’s home boasts twice the capacity of any cricket ground in the UK and its use for the World Cup, which has the full backing of the International Cricket Council, is seen as a way of helping turbo-charge the tournament.

There was talk of staging the opening ceremony there as well but that has been ruled out. The O2 Arena is understood to be among the alternative options.

Using the London Stadium for World Cup matches would not be without controversy, with the ECB having guaranteed 11 venues a certain number of games in the tournament back in 2014.

Some of the additional revenue generated could be used to compensate those venues which lose out.

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