Yorkshire CCC hope new stand at Headingley will be a symbol of a bright new future on and off the field
Yorkshire will open the doors of their new Emerald Stand for this weekend’s one-day international between England and Pakistan, with the club believing it is the symbol for a bright future both on and off the field at Headingley.
Sunday’s fifth ODI, the last in the series, marks both countries’ final competitive fixture before the World Cup starts at the end of the month.
Headingley will host four matches during the World Cup and then an Ashes Test Match, the third in the series (August 22-26), for the first time in 10 years.
“There’s so much to embrace about 2019. It’s a special one-off year,” said White Rose chief executive Mark Arthur.
“I think it is exciting for all cricket in this country, but for us there is a real difference in that we’re going to be able to showcase the new stand.
“When you look out at the ground and you see the shape of it, it’s a proper cricket ground. We truly have world-class facilities here all the way around the ground for the first time ever.
“With the amount of exciting cricket that’s going on in this country - the World Cup, the Ashes, this one-day series, the Championship, the T20 Blast, the positive talk now about the Hundred - it’s brilliant for everyone.
“From a club perspective, we now have a balanced structure within the coaching set-up and good balance and variety in our playing squad.
“Some of the lads coming up through the Academy system are also going to keep the senior lads on their toes. There’s good healthy competition.
“The atmosphere within the squad, there’s a special camaraderie.”
Arthur continued: “I do think this will be a springboard for the game.
“I’ve now had 30 years in professional sport and this year and the next decade really excites me about the potential we’ve got for the game of cricket.
“Through a fantastic broadcast deal, we’re able to properly invest in both facilities and the development of boys and girls.”
Yorkshire remain approximately £20m in debt and expect to repay nearly £4m of that this year.
The new 4,406 capacity stand, which replaces the old Football Stand and takes the ground capacity to 18,350, maybe a significant step forwards for Yorkshire, but it is certainly not the final piece in the jigsaw.
“When you get someone like the England Test captain (Joe Root) turning up at media day before the season, seeing it for the first time with the seats in and near completion, saying: ‘Wow’ - that speaks volumes,” added Arthur.
“This is hopefully a ground where everybody involved in Yorkshire Cricket can be very proud of.
“It’s been a dream to see the evolution of the ground take place. There’s the opportunity for further improvement. But the key when you’ve got something that’s really good, you have to maximise it.
“So it’s all the little things you don’t necessarily see when you’re inside the bowl. It’s the service side outside, the toilets, the access, the catering facilities and stewarding.
“If in a few years we’re playing to sell-out crowds in the T20 Blast, the Hundred and international cricket, others past my sell by date will then start to have a look at increasing the capacity.”
Meanwhile, Yorkshire return to Specsavers County Championship action on Tuesday, against Kent at Canterbury.
Coach Andrew Gale’s side sit second in Division One behind Somerset having drawn one and won one of their opening two games.