YORKSHIRE'S bid for future international matches, including an Ashes Test in 2023, and to be one of the eight host venues for the ECB's new city-based Twenty20 competition has reached its final stage.

Chief executive Mark Arthur is leading a six-man White Rose delegation who will present to the England and Wales Cricket Board with major match allocation between 2020 and 2024 in mind.

Yorkshire are targeting four Test matches in that five-year period plus a limited-overs international each year. In the year they will not host a Test, two one-day internationals have been requested.

"It's a very strong bid," said Arthur, who will begin and end their 25-minute presentation with passionate speeches about the strength and benefits of Yorkshire cricket.

"We're taking myself, Steve Denison (chairman), Andy Dawson (commercial director), Paul Hudson (director of finance), Sam Hinchcliffe (head of operations) and Martin Farrington (director of city development at Leeds City Council).

"Each of the nine bidding venues gets 25 minutes. There are three days and this is the last day.

"A large percentage of marks are on full houses and we've demonstrated to the ECB that we've been on a journey.

"We will have sell-outs for the first two days of England v Pakistan before this summer starts.

"We are very confident in being able to sell out the first three days of any Test match going forward.

"The big criteria for us is that we're given Tests in the summer months because it's been an absolute nonsense that, up here in the north of England, we have to play Test matches in May.

"We feel that if you have to play Tests in May, you should play them in the south, where the weather is generally that much warmer.

"If we are given summer Tests against a variety of opponents, rather than a programme where we had Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, New Zealand in a four-year period, then we would have full houses here at all times.

"You're also assessed on pitches and ours are absolutely fantastic for first-class cricket. Andy Fogarty is often the groundsman of the year.

"If he doesn't win, he's in the top three. Our marks for last year's Test were the highest possible.

"Safety and security, we're very strong on. Last year, we held an ODI just 36 hours after the Manchester bombing at the Ariana Grande concert. We showed that we were fit for purpose without any disruption to the spectators.

"With the new stand coming in 2019, we really will be one of the top four international venues in this country."

The jewel in the crown of the bid will be the Ashes in 2023. Yorkshire will host England v Australia in the summer of 2019 but are desperate for another.

They last hosted one in 2009 and the next chance would be 2027 if unsuccessful.

"We have outlined all our commitment to cricket in this country," said Arthur.

"We provide more players to England than anyone else, we have more clubs, we have a very mature diversity programme, we're a leading light with women's and girls' cricket and we had the biggest numbers in the All Stars programme last year.

"Yet if the ECB turn us down for an Ashes Test in 2023, it will mean Yorkshire will have only had one Ashes Test match in an 18-year period. That's plainly wrong.

"We have all seen the outline programme and the way it's been constructed, everybody will get a fair mix of everything. But the Ashes is different, as we all know.

"In 2023, there will only be five Ashes Tests. That's why they have this process so that different venues and clubs will be allocated according to what they give to cricket.

"It's the quality of every aspect, not just the financial return to the game. Your presentation will go into the mix from a judging point of view as well.

"The city-based T20 is also part of the bidding process and we believe we have a very good case.

"We're based in a major city and there's eight opportunities. It would be remarkable if we weren't one of those chosen venues.

"We get the decision on February 14 and we need the programme we have put in for to underpin the (new football stand) construction we are undertaking at this time."

Overall, Arthur is delighted with the way things are looking for the county ahead of 2018.

"Not only have we sold 6,000 more tickets at this time to what we did in 2016, when we had a similar programme of an early Test and a later ODI, but we have sold 900 more memberships," he said.

"Of those, 415 are full one-day memberships, which give people voting rights. That's bucking a national trend.

"Yorkshire's membership continues to grow. I think all of that is down to the engagement we have with people who love cricket in this county and the development work that has been put in."

On the subject of international tickets for next summer – Yorkshire have an England v Pakistan Test between June 1-5 and an ODI against India on July 17 – Arthur added: "It's been outstanding.

"This hasn't happened by accident. Over the last few years, we've been selling more and more tickets. In 2013, we sold 29,000 for the Test match. In 2017, we sold 56,000.

"We have now sold out for the second day of the Pakistan Test already, which I believe is the first time that's happened (at this time of year) in living memory at Emerald Headingley other than for an Ashes.

"It's not so long ago when people will remember the infamous Pakistan v Australia Test, where there were not many tickets sold at all. For us to sell out a day four months in advance is amazing.

"We will be sold out for the first three days of England v Pakistan in advance, which is testimony to all the hard work people here have put in over the last few years.

"The Indian ODI is almost sold out in July – and then we start the T20 Blast season. The Lancashire game will be sold out.

"We have a reduced capacity of 12,500 this year, so we are expecting some other matches to be sold out as well. Then for the World Cup and Ashes in 2019, it's up to 18,350."

* In association with Yorkshire CCC