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Cricket: ECB chief fails to see the light.

Byline: By Brian Halford

ENGLISH cricket was today digesting the colossal boost of a pounds 30million investment plan announced by the England and Wales Cricket Board.

The unprecedented windfall, funded by increases in broadcasting revenue, sponsorship and gate receipts in recent years, will help develop facilities at club and county grounds nationwide.

But while such a funding infusion was warmly welcomed, there was also some incredulity at one sizeable plank of the board's plans.

A whopping pounds 9million has been earmarked for floodlights.

ECB chairman Giles Clarke wants to see lights erected at every county ground.

The impracticality of that is one puzzle. The flawed logic of it is another.

"We need considerably more experience playing day-night games," Clarke said.

"Secondly, the spectators have considerably greater ease coming to watch cricket in the early and late evening. If we have floodlights, we are in a position to do that."

The chairman appears oblivious to the fact that floodlit cricket simply does not work in England. Watching under lights on a chilly evening is not much fun.

Many games are all over before the lights even come on while, even in fine weather, floodlit contests are deeply unsatisfactory because batting conditions change so wildly.

Clarke is determined to push on but Warwickshire's Edgbaston redevelopment plans will not be radically changing.

"The ECB is trying to make cricket more accessible to more people," said Bears chief executive Colin Povey.

"They want to develop all the grounds and that is to be welcomed.

"On the question of floodlights, if you go round the counties views will vary. Lord's would be one where there will be opposition and, of course, there has been plenty here in the past."

CAPTION(S):

COLIN POVEY.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Feb 5, 2008
Words:288
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