England cricketers Mark Wood and Jack Leach have expressed their surprise and disappointment over the exclusion of main northern venues from the schedule for the 2027 men’s Ashes series. The decision to overlook Headingley and Old Trafford, renowned cricket grounds hosting the third and fourth Tests of the ongoing series, has drawn criticism and raised eyebrows among players and cricket pundits.
Instead of the traditional northern venues, the Ageas Bowl in Southampton has been chosen to host its first-ever Ashes Test, while Trent Bridge will serve as the northernmost ground for the 2027 series. Although Headingley and Old Trafford are set to reclaim their spots in the 2031 Ashes, the allocation for 2027 has been widely condemned as an oversight.
Wood expressed the regret and disappointment at the absence of a northern Test match. The right-arm fast bowler, who recently enjoyed a tremendous outing in the third Ashes 2023 Test in Headingley, termed both venues as iconic grounds and reckoned at least one of them should’ve been given the opportunity to host a fixture.
“As a lad from the north, obviously I love playing in the north “Headingley has had some [amazing] games: obviously in the last series with Ben Stokes, and this one was another great game. Old Trafford’s an iconic place to play. Durham as well… to see Test-match cricket up in the north at Durham is always special,” said Wood during an interview with talkSPORT
“I understand some of the reasons why but [I am] surprised there isn’t at least one game up here because I think we get great support, and I think they’re iconic places to play. [I’m] a little bit disappointed, just being from the north, that there isn’t one up here where you feel like you’ve got that extra backing and you can relate with people up here,” he added.
Likewise, Leach hailing from the south-west, emphasized the advantage of playing in front of passionate crowds in the north. Speaking at the Vaughany and Tuffers Cricket Club podcast, Leach said “You want to make the most of home advantage, don’t you? And those grounds, you definitely feel like you’ve got potentially that. I think about going to Australia and the amount of stick I got or we all got there, and maybe with those grounds [Old Trafford and Headingley], you feel like the opposition gets it a little bit. You get it when you go to that place. And I think that actually can make a big difference.”