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Yorkshire have Twenty20 vision

Yorkshire are bidding to cash in on the growing appeal of Twenty20 cricket by staging a host of money-spinning fixtures during the next two years.

The county have submitted an application to the England and Wales Cricket Board for between two and four Twenty20 international matches and also want to hold the lucrative, showpiece finals day of the domestic Twenty20 Cup.

Yorkshire need every penny they can get to service the recent 12m purchase of their Headingley Carnegie home and would earn around 150,000-200,000 per Twenty20 international and roughly 100,000-120,000 for a Twenty20 finals day.

Stewart Regan, the county's chief executive, said he hoped the governing body would grant Headingley a healthy proportion of those matches and that he expected a decision by Wednesday.

Yorkshire hope to get one or a pair of Twenty20 internationals against the West Indies next summer and one or a pair of matches against New Zealand or South Africa in 2008. They have also requested to stage the Twenty20 finals day on at least one occasion during the next two years.

Regan explained: "The ECB are interested in receiving bids to hold back-to-back Twenty20 internationals, which could mean that Headingley could hold two successive fixtures or that Yorkshire could hold a fixture one day and say Lancashire or Durham the next. That way, it would help cut down on travelling for both teams.

"We have been talking to Lancashire and Durham and are bidding for both options.
"Twenty20 is probably the greatest revenue-generator outside of Test cricket and we are confident that we can fill the Headingley stadium."

Yorkshire, who have been awarded a Test match against West Indies next summer and against South Africa in 2008, believe the Twenty20 finals day should now be given to a northern venue. So far, it has been staged at Trent Bridge (2003), Edgbaston (2004), The Oval (2005) and will again be held at Trent Bridge this year.

Regan added: "My argument is that it's time to spread the opportunity for people to see the Twenty20 finals day.

"We need to take it round the country and let's give fans all over the country the opportunity to see some exciting cricket.

"Headingley would be a perfect venue. We would have no problem filling up to our capacity of just under 17,000 and it would go a long way towards raising Headingley's profile.

"Of course, for every Headingley there is also an Old Trafford, an Edgbaston and a Trent Bridge with pretty much the same ideas and aspirations as we have here at Yorkshire and I've no doubt we will face a lot of competition.

"But we are trying to show the ECB that we are a pro-active, forward-thinking club with plenty of ambition to take the ground forward and I hope our bid will turn a few heads."

This year, England play Twenty20 internationals against Sri Lanka at Hampshire's Rose Bowl on June 15 and against Pakistan at Bristol on August 28.

The International Cricket Council plan to hold an invitational Twenty20 event next year and a fully-fledged World Championship in 2009, which England have expressed an interest in staging.

Twenty20 cricket has taken off significantly since its arrival in England in 2003. Almost 200,000 tickets were pre-sold prior to last year's domestic tournament, with more than 500,000 people watching the action.

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