Cricket: Yorkshire ready to splash £5.5m down the Avenue

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PLANS to revitalise Bradford Park Avenue cricket ground have moved a step closer.

Yorkshire are hoping to restore the ground to its former glory in partnership with the England and Wales Cricket Board and Bradford Council.

The club want to play there in 2019 to ease pressure on Headingley in a busy summer of international cricket.

Now the £5.5m project has been divided into five stages with costings for each phase.

The first stage would see eight practice wickets and nets installed on the site of the former Bradford Park Avenue football pitch next to the ground.

This phase, costing £570,000, would also involve the building of an “inclusive changing pavilion”, complete with car parking, security fencing and CCTV.

The second phase, costing £140,000, involves upgrading the surface to first-class level, as well as renovating the existing scoreboard and groundsman’s store.

Stage three – the most expensive at £2.5m – would see a new community pavilion with changing rooms fitted to first-class standards, a 250-capacity restaurant and more than 1,000 seats for spectators.

Phase four is a £940,000 revamp of the existing East Stand, with repairs to existing terraces and boundary walls, and the building of more than 4,000 new seats.

The final stage would see ECB-standard floodlights costing £1.35m, with work set to be finished by 2019.

Although the ground could be used for Yorkshire first-team games, along with elite women’s and disability cricket, the revamp is primarily designed for the local community.

Council figures show there is a shortage of 18 grounds across the district, with that figure set to rise to 25 venues by 2021, and this is a way of boosting participation.

Mark Arthur, the Yorkshire chief executive, said: “The aim is to create a first-class ground, but it will be a ground primarily for the community.

“It’s a unique concept and would give Bradford national and international recognition for using cricket as a positive vehicle for social inclusion.

“The plan is for the venue to host some elite games of women’s and disabled cricket, and there may be the chance of the odd Yorkshire game, particularly in 2019 when Headingley has such a busy international schedule.

“It would be extremely useful for us to have that facility in Bradford.”

Yorkshire last played at Park Avenue in 1996, since when they have used only Scarborough’s North Marine Road as a satellite venue for first-team games.

l England’s six-wicket win over Pakistan featured a clutch of heartening performances from players hoping to travel on for the Test tour of South Africa next month. The success in Sharjah means England are on course for one-day international series victory over Pakistan, 2-1 up with just one match still to play in Dubai tomorrow.

Before then, though, they will all discover the identities of those set to take on the world’s number one Test team over Christmas and the new year.

England will name a squad of either 16 or 17 today - and in various measures James Taylor, Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes’ contributions against Pakistan on Tuesday can have done their Test aspirations no harm.