The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has announced that professional cricket will be postponed until ‘at least’ July 1 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Whilst cricket competitions will be temporarily suspended, the ECB Board has revealed that there are a variety of measures put in place to fulfil fixtures both domestically and internationally.
These measures include the Vitality Blast being pushed back to a later date with all matches in June set to be rescheduled and England men’s and women’s international games expected to be played from July until the end of September.
ECB Chief Executive Officer 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.”
The tournament that will be the most affected is the County Championship which was originally scheduled to start on April 12. ECB have confirmed that plans are in place to axe nine rounds of fixtures in order to facilitate the revised cricket schedule. However, red-ball cricket and white-ball cricket will be held in a revised schedule.
Harrison concluded: “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.
“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.”