Bransgrove: We can be Cook’s catalyst

England skipper Alastair Cook warms up with his England team-mates at the Ageas Bowl yesterday

England skipper Alastair Cook warms up with his England team-mates at the Ageas Bowl yesterday

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Rod Bransgrove has urged local cricket fans to play their part in steering England back on track.

Hampshire’s home venue – the Ageas Bowl – will stage its second Test match tomorrow as Alastair Cook’s side face India in the third Test.

Cook and England are at a low ebb after a run of 10 Test matches without a win and a capitulation in the defeat at Lord’s last time out.

And the skipper, who is short of runs and under intense pressure, has come in for heavy criticism with some pundits calling for him to be replaced.

But the Hampshire chairman is hopeful this match will be viewed as the turning point for Cook and his side with crowds of around 18,000 expected to attend on each of the five days.

Bransgrove said: ‘Our home support can make a real difference for Cookie and England.

‘I think some of the media have been a bit harsh on the team and the captain in particular, especially as we are only two games into the series.

‘But I think the crowd still really supports England and the captain.

‘I’m sure we will see that at the Ageas Bowl.

‘When a team or a person goes through a bad spell, there is usually a game that is remembered as the catalyst when things start improving.

‘It would be nice if people look back at this game in the future and see it as a turning point for the captain and for England.

‘We need to do our bit to make that happen.’

Bransgrove achieved his ambition of staging Test cricket at the venue back in 2011 as England hosted Sri Lanka in a rain-affected draw.

But while the schedule has not been kind to Hampshire, Bransgrove is ready to make the most of the opportunity.

He said: ‘In a perfect world, we would have the Test match starting on the traditional Thursday where you have the corporate sales on the Friday and a nice big crowd over the weekend.

‘But we feel fortunate to have got the Test match.

‘It’s not exactly the hand we would have chosen but we will make the most of it.

‘It’s an amazing feeling and Test matches against India are massive.

‘It’s absolutely great to get this game and I’m sure we will do a very good job of hosting it again.

‘When the stadium has 18,000 people in it, it will be an awesome occasion.

‘We’ve had some very good sales over the past few days and the numbers are going up all the time.

‘We are in a good place for this Test match and we will give it our best shot.

‘There are always a lot of details to attend to before a game like this. It’s busy but we are ready.

‘The wicket is well-prepared and it’s just a case of opening the gates and getting on with it now.’

Tickets are still available for all five days.

Visit ageasbowl.com for further details.

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