Lancashire will press on with plans to sell the naming rights to Old Trafford in the new year, following a positive response both from members and potential partners. The first stage of the process will be to assess the potential value of the deal, which is scheduled to coincide with the completion of the stadium redevelopment in 2013. “We have a decent amount of time to organise things. What you don’t want is to be involved in last-minute deals for something like this. And the right time for grounds to do something like this is when they have been renovated,” said Lancashire commercial director Geoff Durbin. Any tie-up will retain the traditional reference to the famous old ground, however, as Durbin added: “Keeping the Old Trafford name would be important to the naming rights partner, I would think, and our own thoughts would be that that is fairly key. It is a challenging financial time for all clubs but there is a balance between bringing commercial revenue and respecting your heritage.” Although Lancashire, who revealed their debts to be £8million earlier this year, are heading further into the red with their ambitious redevelopment plans – the Washbrook/Statham stand is being demolished over the winter and will be rebuilt at the end of next season – they hope to offset their arrears with increased commercial activity. The Point is already exceeding expectation as a conference and dining facility and the club are confident of doubling their £3million-a-year catering turnover because of it.
Graeme Swann’s remarkable ascent up the world bowling rankings since the end of the 2009 Ashes, when he claimed the decisive wicket at the Brit Oval, has earned him a lucrative book deal with Hodder & Stoughton. The as yet untitled autobiography is scheduled for release next October. Expect other rushed-through deals to materialise if England maintain their hold on the urn down under as Christmas approaches.
English cricket’s most popular tweeter has left the building. David Lloyd had racked up in excess of 105,000 followers on Twitter – a greater number than any of the current England team could boast – before deciding to quit during the first Ashes Test. The 63-year-old had become disillusioned with the appalling language used by some on the social network site. Having witnessed his itchy-finger addiction first hand, however, I wouldn’t rule out him coming out of retirement before the series is done.
Rajasthan Royals’ belief in their case to be reinstated to the Indian Premier League, following their challenge of alleged infringement of franchise ownership rules, has been strong enough to begin negotiations with the A-list stars on their season four shopping list. Keeping Australian 20-over specialist Shaun Tait out of the clutches of rival teams is their primary target.