‘Scoreboard pressure’ is a common term in cricket, but rarely has it proved so apposite a description.
The failures of the electronic boards at Edgbaston of late have been as regular and unwelcome as rises in petrol prices. But there is no blaming these on Alistair Darling, problems in the Far East or fuel companies.
Instead they reflect poorly on a club that is, in nearly all other areas, heading in the right direction.
The complete meltdown that occurred during the Pro40 match against Kent was just the latest in a string of problems. It resulted in the game being held-up and spectators and players relying on updates from the public address system. It was, for a ground of this stature, deeply unimpressive.
If a similar incident occurs during this week’s Test, it will be, at best, acutely embarrassing. In the worst case scenario it could raise questions about the venue's suitability for hosting an Ashes Test.
Certainly it is an incident that the club’s chief executive, Colin Povey, is keen to avoid.
Povey, who is under some pressure to bring the much-anticipated ground redevelopment to fruition, conducted another thorough review of the incident in the Kent debacle and came to the same conclusion as last time: human error was to blame.
The ‘human’ involved has now been removed from the equation and Povey declares himself confident that there will be no serious issues during the Test.
“It’s not a new board,” he said. “And with proven personnel operating it, it’s not an issue."
Fears over sluggish tickets sales for the Test are abating. After a slow start, business has picked up and, by Monday, around 55,500 had been sold for the first four days.
That’s still below the budgeted figure (60,000) but the club hopes to close the gap further over the next few days. A well-attended fifth day would be a bonus though the club may also reflect that prices were a bit steep on this occasion.
The Wednesday start date did Edgbaston few favours. While it might have been anticipated as an opportunity to sell more corporate packages, the current economic climate has scuppered such hopes.
The ticket issue was among those discussed by the Warwickshire general committee when they met on Monday night.
Of more pressing concern, however, was an update on the ground development scheme.
Povey’s plans have been jeopardised by the combination of high interest rates, the crash in property prices and lack on confidence in the construction industry.
Indeed, it is hard to think of a more difficult time to try to arrange a £100?million building project that will fund the £30?million pavilion.
Redrow, the original building partners, have already pulled out.
Povey remains confident, however. The club is reviewing bids from a variety of building firms and hopes to make a further announcement within weeks.
“Despite the current gloom in the property market and the economic climate generally, we still have good prospects of taking the project forward in the time frame we want,” Povey said. “There are not, at this stage, any intentions of postponing.”
Meanwhile, Povey has been asked to sit on an ECB working party that will play a large part in shaping the English Premier League. He is one of just two chief executives involved (Richard Gould of Somerset is the other) and will be partially responsible for putting flesh on the very bare bones of the competition that is, from 2010, expected to provide the focal point of the domestic season.
Povey remains staunchly against the city franchise idea suggested by the likes of Hampshire and Surrey. Despite reports elsewhere, he says such a scheme is “unlikely to resurface” and underlined Warwickshire’s commitment to the 18-county format.
“We have 18 franchises already,” he said. “They are the 18 counties. We have to make sure that they all prosper.”