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Revamped Cardiff ready for trial run

NatWest Series

Cardiff

Welsh daffodils adorn the stands at the new and improved SWALEC stadium in the city of Cardiff © Andrew Hignell/Glamorgan Cricket Archives

Glamorgan are eagerly awaiting their trial for next summer’s Ashes series when they host their first one-day international at the new SWALEC Stadium tomorrow.

The day-night encounter between England and South Africa, the final match of the NatWest Series, is seen by many as a trial run for Glamorgan before they host the opening Test of the Ashes series next July in a 15,500 capacity ground built especially for the purpose.

Glamorgan are confident they will handle the new challenge of dealing with a nearly full ground for the final match of the series.

“Technically this is a warm-up, but we had five Twenty20 games here this summer which we never got the chance, because of the weather, to really test it out,” explained chief executive Mike Fatkin.

“It would be good for us to actually have a lot of people in because we’re going to learn so many lessons from that.”

Fatkin defended the ECB's decision to award the first Ashes Test to an untested venue, and insists the county will prove the doubters wrong.

They have since also secured a Test for the 2011 home series against Sri Lanka, although - unlike the bid for the Ashes Test - they received no funding from the Welsh Assembly.

“I’ve been around a lot of the counties,” Fatkin confirmed. “Some have been really helpful and others, perhaps understandably, not quite so.

“We make no apologies for the fact we have to go in there and learn. We’ve done one-dayers but doing a Test match we recognise as a step up but we’ve got it and we’re going to deliver it properly.

“We think the decision was justified, but we would say that, wouldn’t we? It is two and a half years since that decision was taken and if it had been anybody but Australia I’m not sure the eyebrows would have been raised so highly.

“We didn’t ask for the first Test and started off as the fourth and we got bumped up to the first. It adds its own little bit of pressure.”

Before the SWALEC Stadium hosts the opening Test on July 8 next year, Glamorgan also plan to install a permanent replay screen, improve the facilities of their cricket centre and are installing a £600,000 drainage system to the outfield similar to those used at Lord’s and Old Trafford.

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