ECB decides to further delay the cricket season as a result of coronavirus
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has agreed that no professional cricket will be played in England and Wales until at least July 1 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The season remains subject to ongoing advice from government and health experts, and continued consultation with all broadcast partners to determine the optimum way to fulfil fixtures both domestically and internationally.
The ECB board also approved a measure that, although nine rounds of fixtures will be lost in the County Championship season, blocks for red-ball cricket and white-ball cricket will be held in a revised schedule.
The Vitality Blast will be pushed as late into the season as possible to give it the best opportunity of being staged.
All matches previously scheduled in June will be moved to later in the season.
International cricket, featuring England men’s and women’s teams, will look to be scheduled from July until the end of September, with the men’s West Indies Test series and the whole women’s series against India (Vitality IT20s and Royal London ODIs) both moving from their original slots.
An additional board meeting will be scheduled next Wednesday over ‘The Hundred’ following a request to dedicate a further session to the competition.
ECB CEO, Tom Harrison, said: “Our role as a national governing body during a crisis of this scale requires us to carefully plan alongside cricket’s stakeholders and supporters to attempt to overcome Covid-19’s impact on this season.
“As much as we remain hopeful that we can deliver some cricket this summer, we are in the midst of a worldwide crisis and our priority – over and above the playing of professional sport – will be to protect the vulnerable, key workers and society as a whole.
“That’s why, simply put, there will be no cricket unless it’s safe to play.
“Our schedule will only go ahead if Government guidance permits.
“Our biggest challenge, along with other sports, is how we could seek to implement a bio-secure solution that offers optimum safety and security for all concerned.
“The guidance we receive from Westminster will help us shape how we deliver this.
“Our plan is to reschedule international matches as late as possible in the season to give the best chance of play.
“The Vitality Blast will also now occupy the latest possible season slot to offer as much time as possible to play a county short-form competition.
“I want to thank everyone involved in this complex and sensitive work.
“There have clearly never been times like this and my colleagues at the ECB and across the game have been exemplary in this period.
“It has been refreshing, but not surprising, to see how cricket has come together.”