No county cricket until August
No county cricket until August

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has confirmed that no professional cricket will be played in England and Wales until at least 1 August, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The ECB statement issued on Thursday 28th May, reads:

The England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) can today confirm a further delay to the start of the professional domestic cricket season, with no domestic cricket to be played before August 1.

The specifics of the season remain subject to ongoing advice from UK Government and health experts, but the ambition remains to host domestic men’s and women’s cricket across England and Wales later this summer.

The Professional Game Group (PGG) will look to outline a number of opportunities for domestic play, which will be presented to the ECB Board in June. These plans include a number of options for both red-ball and white-ball cricket including matches played at all First Class Grounds, the use of a regional group model as well as consideration for matches played behind closed doors or with a limited number of supporters whilst strictly adhering to Government guidance on social distancing.  The working group is also exploring options where non-televised games can be live streamed for members and supporters.

As the ongoing COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, these scenarios will be worked on and assessed. Learnings from the return-to-training programmes for England Men’s players will be incorporated, in addition to those sourced from any international matches played behind closed doors.

The recreational game currently remains suspended until further notice – with the sole exception of the use of outdoor cricket facilities (nets and pitches) for the purpose of undertaking exercise. The ECB will seek to progress discussions with the UK Government to begin mapping out a return, including the potential for an earlier return of junior cricket.

ECB Chief Executive Officer, Tom Harrison, said: “Naturally we want to see cricket being played at every level. We remain hopeful of seeing both domestic and recreational cricket this season and planning with the PGG has allowed us to map a number of potential scenarios for domestic play. Whilst traditional formats of our competitions are the preference, we are not against exploring the unorthodox to ensure that we can return our players to the field.

“That can only happen though when it is safe, and we have said throughout this crisis that the safety and well-being of everyone involved in the game is our key priority.

“We have learned a lot and continue to learn about the safety protocols that would need to be in place to stage international cricket behind closed doors in this environment and those protocols will also need to apply to the domestic game.

“Across the recreational game it has been heart-warming to hear of clubs where players have returned to the nets. As children start returning to school in the coming weeks, we look forward to exploring how those guidelines and learnings can be deployed for cricket. This can then see the recreational game continue its phased return as soon as we have Government approval.”

Kent Cricket’s CEO, Simon Storey, said: “We appreciate that this latest news will bring further disappointment for members, players, cricket fans and stakeholders across Kent.

“However, our priority must remain on the health and welfare of everyone who plays, watches or follows cricket. I know a huge number of people across the whole game at recreational and professional level, are working incredibly hard to ensure that we are ready to take to the field, as soon as we receive guidance that it is safe to do so.

“We should also remain hopeful that the return to individual training for England players and the opening of some nets at community clubs, is a signal that with the right protocols, we might yet see some domestic cricket played this summer.

“Once again, I’d like to extend the Club’s thanks to our members for their patience and understanding during these challenging times of uncertainty. In line with other counties, we plan to review our Membership packages once we have greater clarity on what a shortened season this summer might look like.

“We will be contacting all members and match day ticket purchasers within the next week with further information on their options, in light of this new announcement. This update will also be communicated on the Club website.


 
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