Football back on June 17 - but no domestic cricket until August 1 - at the earliest

PUBLISHED: 09:47 29 May 2020 | UPDATED: 09:47 29 May 2020

Cricket will not be back before August 1, at the earliest, but Premier League football retunrs on June 17. Picture; STEVE BIRLEY

Cricket will not be back before August 1, at the earliest, but Premier League football retunrs on June 17. Picture; STEVE BIRLEY

Archant

Football may be set to return with the Premier League yesterday announcing a June 17 resumption of the 2019/20 campaign, but domestic cricket will not be considering any form of return until August 1, at the earliest.

The England and Wales Cricket Board has extended the shutdown on domestic cricket until at least 1 August.

The season, due to start on April 12, was initially postponed until May 28 and then until July 1, owing to the Coronavirus pandemic.

However, there is set to be some cricket with England set to begin a three-Test series against West Indies on July 8.

Options for playing domestic first-class and limited-overs competitions later in the summer will be presented to the ECB in June.

The extension of the shutdown means 10 rounds of County Championship matches will have been lost.

In addition, the period up to August 1, would also have included the group stage of the T20 Blast and the start of the One-Day Cup.

Back in April of this year it was announced that the new competition ‘The Hundred’ which had been due to start this July, will not be played in 2020 and will, instead, be introduced on 2021.

What the ECB has said it that it would be looking to create / find opportunities for red-ball and white-ball competitions, and options will be drawn up by its Professional Game Group (PGG).

These include counties being split into regional groups and matches being played behind closed doors or in front of limited crowds with social distancing measures in place.

In terms of the county side’s, both Surry and Northants have gone public to say they hope to stage matches in front of reduced crowds this summer.

The possibility of streaming non-televised matches online is also being explored.

Chief executive Tom Harrison said the ECB is “hopeful of seeing both domestic and recreational cricket this season”.

He added: “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.”

Amateur cricket remains suspended until further notice, although net sessions are permitted if certain protocols are adhered to.

The ECB said any update on the recreational game could include an earlier return for junior cricket.

“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,” said Harrison.

“This can then see the recreational game continue its phased return as soon as we have government approval.”


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