Ashes return to Old Trafford

The England and Wales Cricket Board has announced the Ashes will return to Lancashire County Cricket Club's ground in 2013.

David Collier, chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board, said: "2011 has been an historic year for cricket in England and Wales.

"On the field, the England team retained the Ashes and became the number one Test nation in the world. Off the field, the board has demonstrated today the commitment to grow our sport at all levels and to maintain the highest professional standards.

"The investment at school, club, county and national team level augurs well for the future of the sport and fulfils many of the key objectives within our strategic plan."

As well as Old Trafford, the Australian cricket team will play Ashes Test matches against England at Lord's, Trent Bridge, Kia Oval, and Durham in 2013.

Australia last visited Manchester for a Test Match in 2005 when over 20,000 spectators were locked out of a sold out Old Trafford on the final day as England narrowly missed out on claiming a victory.

Jim Cumbes, chief executive of Lancashire County Cricket Club, said: "This has been our goal since 2006. Naturally we are delighted to see the Ashes return to Old Trafford in advance of the 2013 match.

"It has certainly been a fantastic couple of weeks for the club: winning the County Championship after such a long wait and getting the final seal of approval to proceed with our redevelopment. This is just the icing on the cake!

"We now look forward to transforming Old Trafford into a world class venue fit to host international cricket."

Morgan Sindall was appointed as contractor to redevelop Old Trafford into a venue fit to host the Ashes, with a target of completing the £32m project by 2013.

Lancashire County Cricket Club won a Court of Appeal decision at the start of July which dismissed a judicial review plea from Albert Gubay's development company Derwent Holdings against Trafford Council's approval of the club's ground redevelopment plans.

The £32m development is part of the overall plans being led by Ask Developments, which includes a 100,000 sq ft Tesco store fronting Chester Road near to the ground.

LCCC is investing in new pitches, stands, player and media facilities and an extension to the ground's indoor cricket school and public areas. Two new grandstands and a refurbished pavilion will ensure a capacity of 15,000, capable of rising to 25,000 with temporary seating, and a screen showing action replays.

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