The England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has announced the full domestic fixture programme for 2017, which includes Warwickshire versus Lancashire at Edgbaston on Monday 26 June in a historic first round of day/night matches in the Specsavers County Championship, played with pink Dukes balls.
Warwickshire begin the Specsavers County Championship season away to Surrey at the Kia Oval on Friday 7 April, before playing the first home game at Edgbaston a week later on Friday 14 April.
After the return fixture against Surrey at Edgbaston on Friday 21 April, the Bears will begin the defence of the Royal London One-Day Cup away to Northants Steelbacks on Thursday 27 April at Wantage Road.
This year’s Royal London One-Day Cup has been brought forward to the spring – meaning all the group matches will be played before the ICC Champions Trophy in June – with Warwickshire’s home games on Bank Holiday Monday 1 May v Durham, Friday 5 May v Notts Outlaws, Sunday 7 May v Lancashire Lightning and Sunday 14 May v Yorkshire Vikings.
Today’s announcement of a full round of floodlit four-day games breaks new ground for the County Championship, which has only featured one previous day/night match – a trial game between Kent and Glamorgan at Canterbury in 2011.
The move is designed to help broaden the audience for the four-day game and also give England players an opportunity to experience the conditions ahead of another slice of history later in the 2017 summer – with Edgbaston hosting this country’s first ever day/night Test Match between England and West Indies (Aug 17-21).
“We were excited to announce a few weeks ago that Edgbaston will be staging an historic day/night Test, and it’s great that the counties, and the Specsavers County Championship, can also get involved,” said Tom Harrison, the ECB’s chief executive officer.
“It was important for us to arrange a full round of fixtures to give our England players the chance to experience the conditions. But just as we wanted to assess the impact of making Test cricket more accessible by changing the hours of play, the counties have really embraced the potential of Championship matches that stretch well into the evening when people have finished school or work.
“The early indications from Edgbaston are that day-night Test cricket is proving very popular, and hopefully it will be the same for the Specsavers County Championship now the fixtures are confirmed. There are some really attractive matches in the day/night round, and it will be fascinating to see how it works out.”
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