The Ageas Bowl has missed out as a 2023 Ashes venue but will be one of eight hosts for the England and Wales Cricket Board’s new franchise Twenty20 competition.
Hampshire’s headquarters was touted as a likely double winner in the ECB’s announcement of its major match allocation for five years from 2020 to 2024.
It was duly confirmed on Wednesday evening as a host for the new domestic Twenty20 tournament set to begin in 2020, alongside Glamorgan’s SWALEC Stadium in Cardiff and the six long-established international grounds.
But there will not yet be an inaugural Ashes Test on the south coast, or indeed any Tests between 2020 and 2024 at a venue still only 17 seasons old.
There was also Ashes disappointment for Nottinghamshire as it was confirmed Trent Bridge will not host a Test between England and Australia in 2023 – as it has in the last two home series of 2013 and 2015.
Headingley, Edgbaston and Old Trafford will instead host the Ashes tourists in successive trips – having already been granted Tests in 2019 – as well as Lord’s and The Oval.
Edgbaston will also continue as the exclusive home of T20 Blast finals day, while a significant consolation for Trent Bridge will be that Nottingham becomes the annual venue for the domestic 50-over final from 2020.
Lord’s will therefore no longer be the scene of that showpiece, as it traditionally has been throughout the history of domestic one-day competitions.
The home of cricket will, however, retain its two Tests per summer alongside its London neighbour, The Oval, to complete the list of six venues that will host the premier international format over the five-year cycle.
For Twenty20 and one-day internationals, 10 grounds, will stage matches each summer, with the six Test grounds added to by the Ageas Bowl, Cardiff, Bristol and Durham’s Riverside.
ECB deputy chairman Ian Lovett said: “Today’s discussion and decision followed a rigorous, comprehensive and detailed process by the independent Host Venue Panel, in which they assessed a range of high-quality submissions and presentations.
“With a five-year period of international and domestic cricket in prospect, as well as our new competition being developed, there was very strong interest in hosting these events, and the overall standard of submissions was excellent.
“The ECB board recognised the quality and integrity of the process and has endorsed the recommendations, with the next stage the detailed discussion and agreement with each of these selected venues.”
A Hampshire statement on the county’s website read: “Hampshire Cricket is delighted to announce that the Ageas Bowl has been chosen as one of the host venues for this ground-breaking new (Twenty20) competition and has also been awarded a total of seven England international fixtures during this period.”
Nottinghamshire chief executive Lisa Pursehouse described herself as “absolutely delighted” with the fixtures granted to Trent Bridge – headlined by four Tests in five years, with just the Ashes summer missing.
She added: “Of course we would have very much liked to have staged an Ashes Test, having hosted terrific matches here in 2013 and 2015 – it would have been the icing on the cake.
“However, given the reduction to six matches per year, it was a hugely competitive bid process for Test cricket, so we are very happy that we have secured four in the five-year period. That was our number one priority.”
Glamorgan chief executive Hugh Morris, meanwhile, hopes confirmation that Cardiff will host a Twenty20 franchise “will be the catalyst for cricket to grow in Wales”.