Edgbaston will showcase the very best of what Birmingham has to offer when the ICC Champions Trophy comes to town next month, that’s according to former England international Ashley Giles.
Taking place from June 1-18, the ICC Champions Trophy will see many of the world’s finest cricketers descend on England and Wales, with five games to be staged at Edgbaston - including England versus Australia on June 10.
The Trophy itself, alongside the ICC Women’s World Cup, is currently on a month-long trip around the country as part of the Nissan Trophy Tour, taking in the grounds set to host both tournaments.
Last weekend, the Tour reached Birmingham, with hundreds of fans getting close to the silverware at public photo opportunities at both the Bullring and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, before culminating with visits to Monkspath School and Saltley Academy on Wednesday.
And with just days to go until the tournament gets underway, Giles, who spent the entirety of his 14-year first-class career at Warwickshire CCC, admits he can’t wait to watch the action unfold at the ground he calls home.
“It’s great for Warwickshire and Edgbaston to be welcoming the ICC Champions Trophy again. We had it here last time which was a tournament I was fortunate to be part of,” said Giles, now Sport Director at Warwickshire.
“It’s great to see the best players in the world come to Birmingham and play at Edgbaston. It’s a world tournament and I think we have one of the best venues in the country, so it’s exciting to have that size of tournament come here.
“It’s a warm up to the World Cup coming here in 2019, so I would think most of the sides would be using this tournament to have a decent look at conditions and how they might play the game in England in two years’ time.
“England came just short last time, losing in the final, and given the white ball cricket England are playing now, I think we’ve got as good a chance as any.”
Having visited Edgbaston on Sunday for Warwickshire’s win over Yorkshire, the Trophy Tour returned the following day for the Edgbaston Fans T20 Trophy, which saw teams from India and Pakistan go head-to-head for the silverware.
Ahead of the two nations facing one another in the ICC Champions Trophy on June 4, it was the Indian fans team who emerged victorious, winning by five runs, but for many, cricket was the true champion of the day.
“For me, getting people to come and have their pictures taken and be close to the trophies is an experience that very few get,” said Mohammed Arif, ECB National Growth Manager for Diverse Communities.
“As a fan, it’s amazing to have your picture taken with them, and the fact that they are touring up and down the country is really great.
“I’ve seen so many people, mums and dads, girls and boys, all looking at the trophies, and it is amazing.
“Birmingham will come alive this summer, being the centre of the universe as I think it is, and we have so many fans who flock to the games.
“There will be lots of noise, lots of colour, and that’s what cricket should be - a festival of fun.”
The ICC Champions Trophy (1-18 June) and ICC Women’s World Cup (24 June – 23 July) will both see the best eight ODI teams in the world compete for glory in England & Wales this summer. Tickets available at icc-cricket.com/tickets
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