The global pandemic of Coronavirus continues to hit normal as well as sports activities around the World, latest to join is the England Cricket Board (ECB) announcement that there will be no professional cricket in England and Wales till July 1.
The ECB governing body had previously announced that no cricket would be played until May 28 but that date has now been an extended.
An ECB Board meeting on Thursday (April 23) approved a number of measures which would significantly restructure the English season should some cricket be possible this summer.
If matches can begin, they will likely be played behind closed doors without supporters in “bio-secure” grounds to ensure the safety of all those involved in the matches. The ECB have already started planning for such eventualities but even then, government approval would be necessary before any matches could take place.
Any revised schedule will focus on playing international cricket and the Vitality T20 Blast, the two most financially important forms of the game as the ECB look to minimise their financial losses. The ECB previously said that The Hundred would also be prioritised but that position has now changed which suggests the new competition will, at the very least, be postponed until next year. A further Board meeting will be held next week dedicated to discussing future of The Hundred.
The ECB hope for a window of international cricket between July and the end of September with the three Tests against West Indies, originally scheduled for June, pushed back as well as the women’s ODI and T20I series against India. It is possible Test and limited overs series will run concurrently, albeit with matches played on different days.
In terms of domestic cricket, the Vitality T20 Blast, which was set to begin on May 28, will be pushed back as late into the season as possible to give it the best chance of being played with the ECB recognising the importance of that tournament’s revenue for the 18 first-class counties. All group matches scheduled for June will be rearranged for later in the season.