It has been reported by various media outlets that the ICC (International Cricket Council) have decided that they will now not be looking to West Ham United’s London Stadium to host One Day International matches at the 2019 Cricket World Cup.
The tournament is being held in England for the first time since 1999, having hosted it on three occasions prior to that, and the stadium, which was originally opened for the 2012 London Simmer Olympics, was being predicted as a possible home venue.
It was hoped that two Group Stage matches, England vs Australia and Pakistan vs India, could be held at London Stadium over one weekend in June 2019, although the two games have now been scheduled for different days at different respective grounds.
The event was being dubbed as “The Festival of Cricket” and aimed to set a record for the highest attendance at a cricket match of 60,000, filling the stadium’s capacity.
ICC inspectors reportedly visited the venue back in January and deemed that the dimensions of the playing field and the space around it would meet the minimum requirements to host a 50-over match, the length of every match at the World Cup.
However, it was also predicted that to be able to host cricket, the Stratford-based area would have to undergo an expensive transformation to bring it out of football mode, much like for the many athletics events that are held there, into cricket mode, and back into football mode ahead of the 2019/2020 Premier League season.
There had been various rumours that the pitch at the stadium and more specifically the undersoil heating, would be problematic for the drop-in pitch that was going to be used for the matches.
A drop-in pitch is a cricket wicket that is constructed away from the ground and then dropped in for a certain period of time to allow cricket to be played, it is commonly used in Australia for arenas that play host to cricket in the summer and soccer and Australian rules football in the winter.
Furthermore, to be allowed to host encounters at a Cricket World Cup, the stadium would have to host at least one successful five-day test match event this summer, there are no plans for it to do so.
However, as the ICC and other cricket boards meet in India this week to discuss and make plans for the tournament, details of their meetings have been leaked prematurely.
As well as some of the fixtures and grounds they will be played at, it is looking increasingly likely that London Stadium is going to no longer be part of the schedule for the highly-anticipated.
The news of an ICC official telling the Guardian that proposals for the World Cup at the former Olympic Stadium are “a thing of the past” will come as a relief to some members of the Claret & Blue Army who have been unhappy with other sporting events such as rugby and athletics being played out at their new home.
The 2019 World Cup is expected to stick to the scheduled 11 grounds of Wales’ Sophia Gardens, Bristol’s and Taunton’s County Grounds, Southampton’s ageas Bowl, Birmingham’s Edgbaston, Nottingham’s Trent Bridge, Manchester’s Old Trafford, Leeds’ Headingley, Durham’s Emirates Riverside and the Kia Oval and Lord’s in London for the month-and-a-half event.