WG Grace would have been ‘gutted’, according to his successor as Gloucestershire captain Alex Gidman, at the blow dealt to the club after plans to turn the Nevil Road ground Grace himself purchased in 1889 into a 17,500-seater stadium were stymied.
Reacting to Bristol City Council’s decision to turn down the £10million redevelopment proposal, which has the potential to lead to the end of cricket in the city, Gidman tweeted: “Very sad, WG would be gutted.”
Gloucestershire were hoping that their traditional base would be revamped in time for their hosting of a NatWest Series contest between England and New Zealand in 2013 but subsequently fear relinquishing that and other one-day internationals following demands from the ECB to upgrade facilities.
The West Country club are now debating their next move after the 6-4 vote by the Liberal Democrat-run council to oppose the on-site residential project that would have provided the substantial revenue required for the erection of new stands around the ground, and creation of corporate areas and conference facilities.
Local residents were against the building of a block of flats, fearful of it jeopardising the privacy of their own terraced homes and creating other problems, such as parking issues.
“We thought we had a very good, pragmatic, robust project,” said Gloucestershire chief executive Tom Richardson. “It has been turned down and that is a huge disappointment to the club.
“There is clearly a major concern about international cricket. The clock is ticking and we very seriously run the risk of losing the game that has been allocated to us next year, and if we do not develop we could lose international cricket. Period.”
Several options, which include re-location to Gloucester, will be discussed by the Gloucestershire board ahead of the 2012 season.
But the repercussions extend on to the field because some of the new contract offers made to current players, such as long-serving batsman Chris Taylor, were subject to the plans being approved.
Cricket Australia are investigating boots worn by England fast bowler Graham Onions after three of their own quicks were struck down by foot injuries this winter.
Australia’s emerging pacemen Pat Cummins, James Pattinson and Josh Hazlewood have all sustained problems while wearing Asics footwear.
Although there is no evidence that the boots have been responsible, Pat Howard, Australia’s team performance manager, said: “We’re not suggesting it is the reason, but it is something that has to be reviewed. Workloads, body management, history, age, footwear, all those things have got to be reviewed as part of the bigger picture.”
Durham’s Onions fought back from a career-threatening back problem to join England’s Test squad in the United Arab Emirates this month. He was sidelined for eight weeks with a heel injury in 2008.
Onions, who last played for his country on the tour of South Africa in January 2010, is an Asics ambassador and endorses the protection provided by the GEL-8 FOR 64 boots. “(They are a) supportive shoe with extra stability added by the locking straps and mid-foot molding. This shoe provides unrivalled responsiveness giving flexibility and comfort in motion, perfect for a bowler,” he says.
Former England all-rounder Craig White will have to begin on the bottom rung of the ladder in his bid to become a top-level umpire following the conclusion of his coaching stint with Yorkshire.
White, 42, has expressed an interest in standing as an official in the international game after a 21-year association at Headingley, the last two as first-team coach, came to its end in late 2011.
However, there is no fast-tracking through the England and Wales Cricket Board’s system. Individuals are introduced on to the first-class list after fulfilling specific criteria; namely, to show a combination of ability and commitment as an umpire with a local association.
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