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England 2015 summer fixtures Q&A

Following the announcement of England's 2015 summer fixtures yesterday, here we answer some frequently asked questions. 

Why has Cardiff been awarded the first Investec Ashes Test match again in 2015? Aren’t there other more deserving venues?
Cardiff’s staging of the first Ashes Test match in 2009 was extremely impressive and an organisational and commercial success which reflected great credit on the club. Since then the club has also successfully staged group matches and the semi-final of the ICC Champions Trophy last year, the domestic T20 finals day as well as a number of other major international matches. The decision to award Cardiff an Ashes Test match in 2015 was made as part of an exhaustive and open tender process which is overseen by the independent Major Match Group and took into account the full four-year cycle of international cricket from 2012-2016.

What is the process for allocating Test matches? 
ECB’s international matches are allocated by the Major Match Group which is an independent body and overseen by Lord Bill Morris, an independent member of the ECB’s Management Board. Venues are invited to bid for tiered packages of matches ranging from Platinum to Bronze over a four-year period and as part of the submissions process must satisfy four key criteria; infrastructure, operations, legacy and community commitment.

The SWALEC Stadium, like it did five years ago, will host the opening Investec Test of the Ashes against Australia in 2015

So which grounds won what packages for the 2013-2016 period?
The Platinum package was awarded to MCC. Gold packages were awarded to Trent Bridge, Emirates Old Trafford, Edgbaston and the SWALEC stadium. The Kia Oval and the Emirates Durham ICG were awarded silver packages while the bronze package was awarded to the Ageas Bowl. In return, each venue pays a fixed hosting fee to ECB for staging the match which is tiered according to the nature of the opposition and format.

So why are there no Ashes Tests at the northern venues next summer?
The Major Match Group does seek to ensure an even geographical spread of major matches when allocating international cricket over the four-year cycle and both Durham and Emirates Old Trafford were allocated Ashes Test matches last year as part of this process. It is important to note, however, that venues can opt not to bid for all the different packages on offer and may decide to tailor their submissions to stage international cricket according to their respective business needs.

Why are you starting next summer’s international programme with Test cricket – but with T20 and ODI cricket this year?
ECB takes into account a wide range of different factors when planning the international schedule each summer and seeks to strike the best possible balance between the needs of spectators, the England team, the relevant incoming touring teams and the host venues. Next summer’s Investec Test matches will begin soon after the England Test players return from a Test series in West Indies – and this scheduling will assist with the team’s preparations for two important Investec Test series in 2015 against New Zealand and Australia.