The eyes of the cricket world will be on the UK for the next 17 days as the ICC Champions Trophy unfolds at three venues across England and Wales.

Of those venues – Cardiff, The Oval and Edgbaston – it is the latter which has been allocated some of the most attractive matches.

And Warwickshire chief exceutive Colin Povey today insisted that the stadium and its staff are primed and ready for the challenge of taking their place at the centre of the cricket world.

A rather strange sort of “pretend World Cup” the Champions Trophy may be, but there is no disputing the scale of interest that the tournament now generates.

Over the next two-and-a-half weeks, the event is set to reach an estimated global audience of 1.5 billion.

Edgbaston will host five matches, culminating in the biggest of all, the final on Sunday June 23, so the recently-redeveloped Bears base has a fantastic opportunity to underline its claims as a top international venue.

The incentives for Warwickshire to impress only grew last week with the announcement that England will host the World Cup in 2019.

There will be fierce competition among counties to host World Cup games six years down the line – fiercer than ever before with the likes of Somerset and Gloucestershire set to upgrade their grounds.

With Warwickshire’s hefty repayment-schedule to Birmingham City Council stretching well beyond 2019, a bumper allocation of World Cup matches that year (along with an Ashes Test – the Ashes are also taking place in England that year) would be a giant boost.

So in the coming days, the Bears will strive to fully exploit this opportunity to show their visitors from most of the major cricketing countries in the world what they can do.

And Povey has every confidence that the stadium will again prove itself a well-organised and atmospheric sporting theatre.

“We had known for some time that England will host the 2019 World Cup, it was just the agreement that was signed last week,” said chief executive Povey.

“So we knew what was coming and have been looking at the next three weeks as a chance to prove yet again what we can do.

“The fact that we have been allocated the ICC Champions Trophy final this year, taking it out of London for the first time, suggests we are pretty well thought of. Now we have to keep doing what we do well while also moving forward.

Edgbaston will host some top fixtures during the The ICC Champions Trophy, including the final
 

“With the Pavilion End development now up and running very well there are no major developments left to do but there are smaller areas to upgrade, in the Wyatt Stand, for example.

“We are always looking for ways to improve.

“For the Champions Trophy we got some funding to upgrade the practice facilities and have also carried out work in the Aylesford and old Press Box stands.

“The ECB have said they are looking to have ten host grounds for the 2019 World Cup.

“So we have to keep moving forward because competition is only going to get more intense.”

The Champions Trophy will be launched today when India face South Africa at Cardiff but Edgbaston will then host some of the tournament’s plum games.

The two biggest rivalries in cricket will discharge their latest showdown in Birmingham.

On Saturday, England will face Australia there and seven days later India meet Pakistan. Full-houses are assured for both of those games while there are only a few tickets still available for the clash between South Africa and Pakistan on Monday June 10.

Two days after that, Australia will take on New Zealand at Edgbaston – there are tickets left for that one too.

The identity of the teams for the fifth and final Champions Trophy match in Birmingham – the final – on June 23 is, of course, unknown at this stage. How the Bears would love it to feature England, led by their former director of cricket Ashley Giles and possibly including three current Warwickshire players Ian Bell, Chris Woakes and Jonathan Trott.

“We have got some great games ending with the final and wouldn’t it be wonderful if England are in that?” Povey said.

“There has already been plenty of banter flying around with Ash. The perfect scenario is a great tournament where the sun comes out as well as the spectators, ending with England winning it, coached by a Bear with three Bears in the team.

“Who’s to say it won’t happen? There are some very strong sides in the competition but England are one of them and we saw with the Olympics last year how being a host nation can lift a team.”

In the meantime, loads of hard work has been underway for weeks behind the scenes to prepare the Edgbaston site for these big matches.

“It is a strange time in a way with such a big influx of people around with ICC and ECB and our own staff,” said Povey.

“But it’s a very exciting time. This is what all the hard work over years towards getting the new Pavilion End up was for and I am totally confident that we will again show what a brilliant international venue Edgbaston is.”