Cricket - England hopeful of belated start

England and New Zealand will return to Headingley on Saturday morning, hoping for a belated start to the second Investec Test after Friday's washout.

PA Sport
Cricket - England hopeful of belated start

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No play was possible on day one of the second Test at Headingley because of rain

Captains Alastair Cook and Brendon McCullum never even got as far as tossing the coin due to persistent rain in Leeds, but the forecast is more favourable for the Bank Holiday weekend.

For England, it represents a chance to build on the momentum created by the 170-run win at Lord's, while the carrot for the tourists is a second consecutive series draw against a side considered heavy favourites.

With provision for lost time to be made up over the next four days, there is plenty of opportunity for the match to be decided either way, but Yorkshire will need to call on their comprehensive insurance policy to refund the 10,000 ticket holders who left disappointed on day one.

A successful Test is vitally important to the White Rose county, whose new chief executive Mark Arthur has the responsibility of ensuring the club continues as a major player in the international game.

Competition is stiffer than ever in England, with nine grounds now going head to head for seven Tests each summer - two of which traditionally go to Lord's. Factor in Bristol, which has ODI status, and Taunton, which wants it, and the fixture list is being spread increasingly thin.

Arthur, indeed, believes it is close to breaking point. "There's a finite amount of international cricket in this country, to spread it amongst 11 international grounds and expect all those grounds to be at the same level as the top international grounds around the world, that's not going to work," he said.

"We're all after a sustainable game of cricket at club, county and international level, we have to work together to get that balance. You don't want clubs bankrupting themselves just to stage matches. Clubs are asked to improve the fabric of the grounds, so you need positive cash flow in order to do that."

Arthur also addressed the difference between the heaving crowds that are a feature of Lord's and The Oval and the relative struggle to fill more northerly stadia such as his own. He admitted such a disparity existed but cautioned against favouring grounds in the south, purely on a monetary basis.

"It's important to understand that not everybody has the spending capacity of those people that live in the south-east of the country," he said. "That has to be factored in by the major match group when they're allocating matches. There's a finite amount of money that you can charge out in the provinces."

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