A big summer of cricket begins at Edgbaston

April 13, 2018

Today (April 13th) is the start of the cricket season, with Edgbaston staging one of the opening rounds of the Specsavers County Championship fixtures.

Superstitious folk may not be so surprised that, this being Friday 13th, the start of play has unluckily fallen victim to the weather, with no play before lunch in Birmingham. 

However, when Warwickshire and Sussex do get underway, the home side will be eager to make progress in their quest for promotion back to Division One following last year's relegation. 
Indeed, a soggy spring morning will be far removed from the exciting array of big matches to come at the famous venue, including not just Warwickshire and Birmingham Bears games but two exciting England matches. Cricket lovers booking corporate hospitality at Edgbaston's state-of-the-art facilities will have a lot to look forward to, both on and off the field. 

Following the Sussex match, Warwickshire's other four day games at Edgbaston will be against Derbyshire, Northamptonshire, Glamorgan, Gloucestershire, Durham and, finally, Kent; when hopefully the players will be celebrating promotion in the early autumn.

One-Day Cup group games will also take place at the venue against Derbyshire, Northamptonshire, Leicestershire and, on June 6th, against local rivals Worcestershire.  

For many domestic cricket fans, the highlight will be the Vitality T20 Blast, and Birmingham Bears will be hoping to illuminate some exciting Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons. The first match at Edgbaston will see Yorkshire Vikings visit on July 8th, with that month also seeing the Bears host Leicestershire Foxes, Durham Jets and Northamptonshire Steelbacks. 

August will bring the visits of Notts Outlaws, Lancashire Lightning and, on August 17th, the derby against Worcestershire Rapids.

Following this, Edgbaston will stage the Finals Day on September 15th, having long since established itself as the regular venue for the showpiece occasion.

If the county action is not exciting enough, the international calendar will be busy and varied.

Australia will be touring England this summer, with a five-match series of one-day internationals being followed by a Twenty20 match against England at Edgbaston on June 27th. 

The biggest highlight of all could be the Test match at the start of August, when India come to town.

Currently ranked the number one side in the world, India's recent success has mostly been built on a superb winning run at home and in conditions with similar pitches away, such as in Sri Lanka and the West Indies. 

This has left some questioning whether their brilliant spinners and prolific batsmen can cope with conditions where seam and pace bowling dominate more, offering increased bounce and sideways movement. 

India lost their recent trip to South Africa, currently ranked second, 2-1, and will visit Australia at the back end of this year. In between, the five-match series in England will be a key test of whether they can cope with the swinging ball, having lost 3-1 on their last visit in 2014 and 4-0 in 2011. 

Edgbaston did not host a Test in 2014, but was witness to England's innings victory in 2011 that saw them overtake India at the top of the ICC Test rankings. 

Following series defeats in Australia and New Zealand this winter, the hosts will not be able to match that feat, but a series victory for England could see India relinquish top spot as they are now just four points ahead of South Africa.

Image: Gareth Copley/Getty Images from Keith Prowse subscription

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