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Home / Cricket News / Glamorgan looking forward to a great time as world cricket stars hit Cardiff

Glamorgan looking forward to a great time as world cricket stars hit Cardiff

CHRIS Gayle,  Mitchell Johnson, Michael  Clarke and  Kieron Pollard.  Just some of the  stellar stars of world cricket  who are set to grace the same  stage on Saturday.

But this is not the cast of an Indian Premier League extravaganza. 

This West Indies and Australia  showdown will take place right  here in Wales as a warm-up  match for the ICC Champions  Trophy tournament in Cardiff.

And this is just the appetiser  before the likes of MS Dhoni, AB  de Villiers and Dale Steyn stroll  into town for the tournament  opener in Cardiff next Thursday  between India and South Africa  which could net a worldwide TV  audience of 500m people.

Seven of the leading eight  nations will take part in five  tournament matches and two  warms-ups in Cardiff next  month as they compete in the  last ever Champions Trophy  which will be beamed live to  1.5bn people across the world.

“I don’t think people realise  how big this tournament is and  they will probably only realise it  after it finishes,” said Glamorgan  chief executive Alan Hamer.

“Our biggest challenge has  been to try and elevate the profile of the competition.

“This is mainly because  people’s attention has been  taken by competing sports with  the successful football season  Welsh clubs have had and now    the Lions tour.

“So I am not sure if the Welsh  public has realised what is  around the corner which is all  the best cricketers in the world   going to be in Cardiff.

“We will have seven of the top  eight nations here at least in the  next three weeks and this is like  a mini World Cup.

“This is something that does  not come around very often and  when you have Chris Gayle,  Kieron Pollard. Michael Clarke  and David Warner here who are  going to be involved in the first  warm-up game on Saturday.

“That is even before MS Dhoni, AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn arrive in town for the first match which is incredible.

“Over the next few days as  more players come into Cardiff  we aim to raise the profile.

“Hopefully over the next three  weeks people will come and see  some of the leading stars in  action.

“Teams have started arriving  in Cardiff and West Indies and  Australia will play in a warm-up  match and they have been practising every day.

“We have been preparing for  this tournament for over a year  now and are putting the final  touches to it.”

Hamer ranks this event as  rivalling Cardiff’s historic inaugural Test in 2009.

“This on a par with the Ashes  because it is a global event,” said  Hamer.

“In fact if the semi-final goes  to how we would like it of  potentially an India-England  semi-final, that would be bigger  than the Ashes game.

“The ICC predict this tournament will reach a global audience of 1.5bn people and there  could be 500m watching the first  game which is incredible.”

The Swalec Stadium has been  rebranded the Cardiff Wales Stadium for this tournament and  will host five games in the tournament alongside other venues  Edgbaston and the Oval.

England and New Zealand’s  pool match on June 16 and a  semi-final match four days later  are destined to join the opening  game as sell-outs.

But the other two matches  between Sri Lanka and New  Zealand and West Indies and  South Africa are more of a challenge.

“We are happy with the way  tickets have gone after setting  ourselves an ambitious target  across the five games,” added  Hamer.

“Overall we are looking at  three games selling out, one half  full and the other of about  5,000.

“The first India and South  Africa match has sold out and  there are a couple of thousand  tickets left for England and New  Zealand on Father’s Day which  should go quickly.

“It is their final group match  and could have a big bearing on  what happens.

“We have less than 50 per cent  available for the semi-final  which we are happy about at the  moment we don’t know who is  involved.

“The other two games will be  more challenging. West Indies  and South Africa should be one  of the most popular neutrals  matches and we are looking at  50 per cent capacity.

“For the Sri Lanka and New  Zealand game we are working  with local cricket clubs and are  expecting a crowd of 5,000.”

Glamorgan swapped their  Champions Trophy allocation  for an England Test match  against New Zealand which was  switched back to Lord’s.

Having watched Yorkshire  struggling to fill Headingley for  the second Test last week in a  similar fashion to England’s Test  against Sri Lanka in Cardiff two  years ago, Hamer believes  Glamorgan have benefited from  the change.

“It was definitely the right  decision,” said Hamer.

“This is something different  rather than just having two  teams and one game whether  that be over one or five days.

“We have so many different  sides and a variety of players  coming to Cardiff on seven separate occasions.

“We had our fingers burned in  2011 against Sri Lanka and Yorkshire and Durham have had difficult times in recent times.

“I believe the first series every  summer should all be staged in  London because in May it is  hard to fill grounds with large  attendances.”

Financially, Glamorgan  should also benefit.

The county were forced to  declare a £2m loss on that Sri  Lankan Test, but are confident  of posting a seven-figure profit  from their Champions Trophy  exploits.

“We are guaranteed to make a  decent six-figure profit and we  are aiming to make a million,”  said Hamer.

“It is not like international  matches where you get bonus  on attendances and the risks or  rewards are all on the venue as it  works for England game.”

Hamer also accepts the next  few weeks will determine Glamorgan’s reputation as an international venue.

“This is crucial to our future  plans because all the top brass  from the ECB and the ICC will  be here over the next few  weeks,” conceded Hamer, who  has also confirmed Glamorgan  will bid for an England T20  international next year.

“We believe what happens is  vital to our future and determine  what games we will have in the  future.

“In 2017, 2018 and 2019 there  are big England Test matches  against India, South Africa and  Australia which we want to  stage.

“The best way we can produce a cv for future international matches is to put on a  good show.

“We have demonstrated over  the last five years how well we  have staged games and these  things don’t go unnoticed.

“A safe and successful tournament would enhance our  reputation.

“Players and match officials  like the way they are treated and  we have already seen Michael  Clarke wax lyrical about  Cardiff.

“All these small things can  make the difference when the  big decisions are being made.”

The trophy itself will be in Cardiff on Friday night where cricket fans can have their photograph taken with it in front of the official ICC Champions Trophy logo board.

The trophy will be at the Walkabout sports bar on St Mary’s Street between 5.30pm and 9pm on Friday evening along with an official photographer to capture the moment. This is one of only three times the trophy will be seen in public before being lifted by the winning captain.

Tickets for all matches are available from www.icc-cricket.com, by calling 08442492013 or from the stadium Office priced from £20 for adults and £5 for under-16s.

Match tickets for the two warm-ups in Cardiff, West Indies v Australia on June 1 and Australia v India on June 4 are also  now available, priced £5 for children and £15 for adults in advance, £20 on the day.

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