YORKSHIRE chairman Steve Denison is hoping last weekend’s successful England versus West Indies Test Match will go a long way to helping secure Headingley’s international future beyond 2019.

The White Rose county host two more Tests before their current staging agreement with the ECB finishes at the end of 2019.

Pakistan visit next year before Australia the following summer when the Leeds venue also hosts four one-day World Cup matches.

Denison hailed the success of the West Indies Test both on and off the field, admitting: “We were delighted with every aspect of it.”

An aggregate crowd of 56,005 watched the West Indies stun England in a Test which was staged much later in the summer than recent Headingley encounters.

“Undoubtedly time of year makes an enormous difference, and we’ve said that repeatedly to the ECB,” said Denison.

“The international programme beyond 2019 hasn’t been established.

“We’ll have another early one next year because we have Pakistan, and they are coming before India. It will probably be in May. Then it’s the Ashes in 2019.

“We’ve said to the ECB ‘We’ve done really well selling early, cold weather Tests in May in previous years, but look at what we do when we get the opportunity later in the summer’.

“Our flexible ticket pricing (£10 for adults and free for kids on the last day, for example) is also a big thing. We just want people to come and watch.

“We were a little bit worried about the competition of other things for people to do in Yorkshire. The Ebor Festival at York, the Leeds Festival, the Caribbean Carnival, the attractions of the Yorkshire Coast on Bank Holiday.

“But the cricket absolutely smashed it. To get those crowds was just phenomenal.

“There’s a new group that’s been formed by the ECB to help the board decide where matches go after 2019, and a couple of representatives of that body, along with Colin Graves, visited us on Friday.

“Mark Arthur and I spent quite a bit of time with them, taking them around and reminding them of what we have to offer now and when the new Football Stand is built. That couldn’t have gone better.

“We want Headingley to be in the top four venues in the country because that guarantees that we’ll be at the heart of English cricket for the next generation and beyond.

“We’re not there yet, but we’re well on the way.

“We have to redevelop the Football Stand, and that will be a big challenge, but once we do the ground will back up to scratch.”

Yorkshire’s financial situation has been much publicised.

They have a debt of approximately £25m, with borrowing powers for another £17m to be added when building the new Football Stand.

But Denison insists things are looking up for the county.

“We comfortably beat our budgets for the Test,” said Denison.

“Blast attendances were 20 percent up on last year. We always exclude the Lancs game, which is always a sell out. For the other remaining group games, we were 20 percent up.

“What we said two or three years ago was that we just needed to survive financially through to 2019 when we have the Ashes Test and the landscape changes both internationally and with the new domestic T20 coming in the following year.

“The pouring rights also come back at the end of next year.

“We’d also spoken about a ground naming rights sponsor, which has taken some time to do.

“Survival was the order of the day, which is why we refinanced the club and have driven things really hard in terms of cost.

“We turned that horrible £1.4m loss into a small profit last year. I think we’ll make a slightly bigger profit this year as well.

“A Pakistan Test in May in the middle of Ramadan next year won’t be easy, but we do have an Indian one-dayer.

“We are changing the vibe of Yorkshire cricket, including taking T20 warm-ups around the county, regenerating Bradford Park Avenue, the support we’re giving to Scarborough to enable their further development.

“It’s also what we’ll try and do in Sheffield as quickly as we possibly can.

“To change the view people have of Yorkshire CCC, both from within the county and the wider game, I think we’re well on the way to doing that.

“This Test definitely helped, and we can start to look forward.”