The England and Wales Cricket Board are making strong arrangements to host two matches over the weekend in the 2019 World Cup at the famous London Stadium, West Ham’s home. Should the plans work out as anticipated, the fans may witness a carnival-like atmosphere at the venue which has a capacity of holding an audience of 60, 000 at once.
The organisers of the World Cup have shown great interest in hosting two matches – a day-night fixture and a day fixture at the London Stadium a Sunday. The fact which makes the event special si that the probable fixtures are scheduled to be played between four of the greatest cricketing rivals.
Hosts England will meet Australia under the floodlights whereas India and Pakistan will hold the city standstill in the day game.
The India-Pakistan match is already being guessed to attract the highest number of fans for a game between the two countries outside the subcontinent. Playing two matches at the London Stadium over a weekend would reduce operating costs and increase the visibility of the games.
The World Cup organising committee will meet to discuss the use of the stadium on 11 May and hopes to confirm its decision in mid-July, once it has seen how quickly the venue adapts to athletics after its first season being used by West Ham. The window in which the venue could host cricket is believed to be only a week.
The London stadium has never hosted any cricket fixtures before. Initially, it was been speculated that the Stadium could host Essex T20 matches next summer. However, it is now confirmed that the World Cup matches will be the first time the prestigious venue will hosts cricket matches.
The International Cricket Council has certain guidelines related to the outfield when a non-cricketing hosts cricket matches. On previous occasions, Rugby Stadium in New Zealand, South Africa and Australia have bee doubling up as cricket venues, given that they fell under the boundary guidelines. The organising committee has found the size of the boundary complies with the minimum requirements.
Drop-in pitches will also make an appearance in international cricket in England for the first time. But doubts remain over whether the outfield would meet World Cup standards. The ICC is yet to inspect the ground but is understood to be keen on the concept.
The success of the World Cup games will be held as the parameter to ponder upon the idea of hosting games of the new planned city-based T20 tournament at the same venue if the availability factors fall in favour of the organising committee.