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Cricket focus for Olympic stadium

By Oliver Brett

The Olympic Stadium
Could this be a cricket venue one day?

The Olympic Stadium could be used to stage floodlit Twenty20 cricket once the 2012 Games have finished.

The London Development Agency has asked the England and Wales Cricket Board, and two counties, to consider using the landmark venue for big matches.

Olympic organisers are keen to provide a "legacy" for the stadium post 2012.

Since London was awarded the Olympics a number of London football clubs as well as both rugby codes have been approached about using the stadium.

With no firm commitments from any of them, the focus has now moved to the national summer sport.

In a statement, the LDA said it had "engaged with two professional cricket clubs and the national governing body of the sport to explore opportunities for professional cricket (particularly Twenty20 cricket) to be played in the legacy stadium post-2012 and proposes to identify areas within the legacy park where cricket nets and recreational cricket can be played."

The England and Wales Cricket Board - cricket's governing body - frequently sells out Lord's, as well as other grounds, for Tests, one-day internationals and international Twenty20s.

Lord's, close to central London, is currently the biggest cricket stadium in England with a capacity of 30,000.

But that figure is dwarfed by Australia's Melbourne Cricket Ground, which can squeeze in close to 100,000, while Eden Gardens, Calcutta, can take 90,000.

606: DEBATE
Waz's Left Arm

Current proposals will see the Olympic Stadium reduced from a capacity of 80,000 during the Games to anything from 25,000 to 30,000 after the event if it was to be used to host athletics - though something around the 50,000-mark may be sustainable if an interested cricket party was to come forward.

However, BBC Sport understands the ECB has no plans to look beyond the venues it currently uses, despite the growing amount of international cricket staged in England each summer.

When asked for a reaction about the LDA's proposal, an ECB spokesman said: "It's the first I've heard of it."

The Olympic Stadium could be a better fit for Middlesex, which stages most of its home matches at Lord's, though it is effectively a tenant at the ground.

Angus Fraser, Middlesex's managing director of cricket, was unavailable for comment on Wednesday. A club spokesman said he was unaware of any correspondence with the LDA.

Spokesmen at Essex and Surrey were also unable to shed any light on the plans.

Meanwhile, the Olympic Park itself could be used to provide nets and other cricket training facilities.

East London's Asian communities, for whom cricket is often the number one sport, are currently poorly catered for in that respect.

New South Wales have played occasional matches at the Olympic stadium used for the 2000 Games, though their regular home remains the Sydney Cricket Ground.



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see also
Stewart sees cricket in Olympics
14 Aug 09 |  Cricket
Cricket match is lit up at Lord's
27 May 09 |  London
2012 stadium on track, says Coe
18 Apr 09 |  Olympics
World Cup bid eyes Olympic venue
04 Sep 09 |  Internationals
FA asked to consider 2012 stadium
26 Jun 09 |  Olympics
Essex announce Chelmsford revamp
17 Dec 07 |  Essex
Surrey unveil new plans for Oval
18 Jan 07 |  Surrey
Lord's set for 20m redevelopment
03 Nov 06 |  Cricket


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