When Surrey County Cricket were hunting a new training ground for the club's rising stars, director of cricket Alec Stewart kept things close to home.

The Oval-based County Championship Division One new boys agreed a deal this week that will see them use the London School of Economics sports ground in New Malden as a key practice facility for teams throughout the club.

The new partnership has seen significant investment in the ground, which will become a first-class training ground for the professional squad, academy and age group players from 2017.

Wimbledon Times:

Multi-purpose: The LSE sports ground is used by footballers and cricketers alike. Former Carshalton Athletic midfielder Paul Honey is pictured in pre-season training in 2008

Three Second XI Trophy and Championship fixtures - against Essex (June 30), Kent (July 18-20) and Sussex (August 33-5) - had already been confirmed to be played at the ground earlier this year.

While two further second string 50-over fixtures - against the Club Cricket Conference XI on May 24 and a Surrey Championship Representative XI on June 20 - have recently been added to the Windsor Avenue schedule.

Former Tiffin School student Stewart, who learned his cricket trade at Malden Wanderers, hopes the new ground will be like a home away from home for his Surrey stars.

Wimbledon Times:

Legend: Surrey director of cricket Alec Stewart

“When I became director of cricket, one of my key targets was to find a suitable venue away from the Oval which we could operate as a training and playing facility.

“Having grown up in the area, I’ve known this ground for many years and am grateful to the club for investing in the ground to allow us to continue the development and progress of our players at all levels.

“In an enclosed area, we have had 20 net pitches laid using the same specification as the main square at The Oval. There are also two squares for match usage, which will be available for all Surrey teams. It is a significant coup for the club to have agreed this partnership with the LSE.”

Surrey's head groundsman Lee Fortis added: “This is an existing high quality facility which has seen significant investment to bring it to first-class level.

“It will enable us to provide high-class training and practice facilities for all Surrey teams – and significantly improve the pitches used for Academy and age group home matches.”