Perennial One Day International World Cup underachievers England go into this year's home tournament as favourites. Can they give pubs and cricket fans the perfect start to the summer?

This year could be the biggest one for cricket in this country since The Ashes were re­captured back in 2005.

In fact, it could be the greatest one ever, for not only are the Aussies coming over but all the stars of world cricket will be too.

England and Wales are hosting the Cricket World Cup, and if that wasn't enough to get you excited, England's ODI stars are favourites to lift the trophy as well.

There will be some 48 matches played over a six-week period. Every side will face each other in a league format, with the top four qualifying for the semi-finals.

The tournament culminates with the final at Lord's on July 14.

Establishing your pub as a venue to enjoy the cricket in could set you up for the entire summer, because a successful tournament will lead perfectly on to that Ashes series, which starts in August.

 

Fielding the fans

One pub that is already gearing up for the World Cup is the Griffin Belle in Vauxhall, London. Now, not all pubs have the geographical good fortune of being located next to a World Cup venue but licensee Mike Reed (below) says the proximity to the Oval is just one of the strings to his pub's bow.

He says: "Of course we are fortunate being on the doorstep of The Oval, but cricket drives footfall for our pub. We know it's a popular sport among the local community and they have, in turn, supported the pub.

"Our customers know they can come in and watch their team or their country in a great environment and with a great atmosphere. In the past cricket would have perhaps been perceived as boring to watch but Sky's fantastic coverage has really helped boost interest."

 

 

Magic moments

And Sky itself points to viewing figures to show how much of a pub crowd-puller cricket can be. According to Ipsos MORI figures almost half a million people a day watched The Ashes in a pub when it was last played in the UK four years ago. Other big matches also pull in the punters, with 720,000 going to the pub to watch a day of a Test Match between England and India last summer.

Mike adds the standout cricketing moments in recent years include Alastair Cook scoring a century in his final innings for England in that series.

"Our customers were willing him to get that milestone hundred. From a trading perspective, we couldn't have asked for better timing as he was batting at lunchtime and we had a good crowd in, as well as about 50 builders from the local site trying to squeeze into the pub."

The Cricket World Cup may not create quite the same levels of national fervour as the football equivalent but, as Mike points out, the format of the game does give pubs the opportunity to attract customers throughout the day.

Getting the kit right, as with all sport, will be essential in ensuring cricket fans choose your pub rather than a rival business or their own living room. Mike adds: "We use state of the art technology and all our screens are the best UHD screens, along with a giant multi-screen wall and three sound zones. We try to offer customers a perfect way to watch sport."

And it will be all the more perfect if Eoin Morgan is lifting that trophy on July 14.

 

 Getty Images

 

SUMMER OF CRICKET: KEY DATES
CRICKET WORLD CUP

30 MAY
England v South Africa The Oval

3 JUNE
England v Pakistan Trent Bridge

8 JUNE
England v Bangladesh Cardiff Bowl

14 JUNE
England v West Indies Hampshire Bowl

18 JUNE
England v Afghanistan Old Trafford

21 JUNE
England v Sri Lanka Headingley

25 JUNE
England v Australia Lord's

30 JUNE
England v India Edgbaston

3 JULY
England v New Zealand Riverside Durham

9 JULY
Semi-final (1 v 4)

11 JULY
Semi-final (2 v 3)

14 JULY
World Cup Final

 

THE ASHES

1—5 AUGUST
First Test Edgbaston

14—18 AUGUST
Second Test Lord's

22—26 AUGUST
Third Test Headingley

4—8 SEPTEMBER
Fourth Test Old Trafford

12—16 SEPTEMBER
Fifth Test The Oval