By Barrie White
Ashes cricket will return to Manchester for the first time in eight years after the England and Wales Cricket Board awarded Old Trafford a test match in 2013.
The home of Lancashire CCC – the current county champions after winning their first outright title in 77 years – will host the match against Australia after going through serious redevelopment.
However, Old Trafford has missed out on hosting another Ashes match in 2015, when the schedule is changed and will host India and Pakistan in 2014 and 2016, respectively.
Lancashire Chief Executive Jim Cumbes told the county’s official website that being awarded an Ashes test is the perfect end to a brilliant season.
“This has been our goal since 2006,” said Cumbes, who was appointed in 1998.
“Naturally we are delighted to see the Ashes return to Old Trafford in advance of the 2013 match.
“It has certainly been a fantastic couple of weeks for the club: winning the County Championship after such a long wait and getting the final seal of approval to proceed with our redevelopment. This is just the icing on the cake!
“We now look forward to transforming Old Trafford into a world-class venue fit to host international cricket.”
Old Trafford was the scene of one of England’s greatest near-misses as a Ricky Ponting hundred inspired Australia to hang on to a draw in 2005.
Nearly 20,000 spectators were locked out on the final day’s play and many expected Old Trafford to be on the itinerary four years later.
However, the county was out-bid by Cardiff to host an Ashes test match in 2009 as England successfully regained the famous urn before defending it down-under.
Old Trafford will also host a One-Day International against Australia as England begin their preparations towards the 2015 World Cup.