Surrey have praised the "passion and loyalty" of British cricket fans after revealing 85 percent of seat-holders for what should have been this week's first Test between England and the West Indies at their Kia Oval headquarters have decided to roll over their tickets to next year's England-India Test at the south London ground. The West Indies opener, the first of a three-match series, has been delayed a month by the coronavirus and will take place behind closed doors at Hampshire's Ageas Bowl, a ground with an on-site hotel that is considered to be a more bio-secure venue than the Oval.
Ticket-holders were offered the opportunity to either claim a full refund or move their tickets to next year's match, retaining the same seats for the same day's play. Surrey said that, as of Thursday, only 15 percent fans had opted to get their money back. Crowds for Tests in England have held up well compared to elsewhere in the world, with India matches in the UK often well-supported thanks to the Asian community in Britain.
"The interest in next year's India Test match is a real testament to the passion and loyalty of cricket fans in this country," said Oval managing director Charlie Hodgson.
"Whilst it's incredibly disappointing for everyone that the Test match summer is not beginning at the Kia Oval, there are currently bigger things we all need to work together to achieve."
The Oval staged the first Test match in England, against Australia in 1880 and Emily Clark, Surrey's head of sales and marketing, said: "Next year's Test match –- which will be the final Test in a hugely exciting series between England and India –- is sure to be another in the long history of great Test matches played at the ground."