Mike Gatting: It’s great to see the Ashes back at Old Trafford
Ashes 2013: Former England batsman Mike Gatting says it is great to see the Ashes back at Old Trafford
It may be the ground where he was left utterly stunned by a young Shane Warne but former England captain Mike Gatting insists it is only right that Old Trafford will host Ashes cricket again.
Old Trafford missed out the last time the Ashes were held in England in 2009, Sophia Gardens in Cardiff chosen instead to host its first-ever Test match – and the opening one of the series at that.
However, with redevelopment underway, Old Trafford learnt in September of 2011 that it would host Ashes cricket again this year with the Manchester Test set to be the third of the five scheduled.
That will end a three-year wait for Test cricket at Old Trafford with Gatting, who was on the receiving end of Warne’s ‘Ball of the Century’ in Manchester two decades ago, adamant it’s long overdue.
“It is great to see somewhere like Old Trafford hosting an Ashes Test as it always was a great Test ground,” said Gatting, who is helping the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) promote open days up and down the country this summer to coincide with the Ashes, where clubs will be inviting the local community to enjoy the cricket whilst showcasing facilities, cricket-playing opportunities and everything else they have to offer.
“A lot of people’s hard work went into it with the redevelopment and other things and their reward is an Ashes Test, which is the pinnacle of our sport.
“I think everyone, even the guys who work there, would say that there wasn’t enough money pumped into it and it came into a bit of disrepute.
“But it has had a tremendous facelift – a much-needed one – and it looks absolutely fantastic again and has rightly got the return of Test cricket that it craved.”
Old Trafford has produced many memorable Ashes moments with the last Test between England and Australia at the venue in 2005 resulting in a thrilling draw.
England went on to win the 2005 series 2-1 and win the Ashes for the first time in 18 years and Gatting believes Old Trafford will provide another moment for the history books this summer.
“It is the first Ashes Test at Old Trafford since the glorious summer of 2005 so hopefully it can help us out again,” added Gatting, who captained England for 23 Tests between 1986 and 1988.
“Some great matches have been played there and to see the place back up to scratch now is fantastic and hopefully we can have some more great memories there, starting with this summer.”
To sign up your club for an Open Day and for more information on the benefits and support visit www.ecb.co.uk/clubopendays. A full list of clubs taking part will be put on the ECB website in July.