The ECB has announced a further delay to the start of the domestic cricket season, with no domestic cricket to be played before 1 August.
It equates to the loss of 10 rounds of the County Championship and group stages of the T20 Blast.
(Editor’s Note – 29th May – Domestic cricket is NOT the same as international cricket so England’s three-Test series against West Indies in July is still being planned).
The launch of The Hundred has already been put back to 2021.
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 (Professional Game Group) has allowed us to map a number of potential scenarios for domestic play.”
Exploring the unorthodox
International and county cricket behind closed doors, regionalisation of games and matches being streamed online are all future options.
It is unquestionably a blow after plenty of optimism and speculation that we could see England play in July.
It leaves two months left of the domestic cricket season to try to salvage some fixtures and crucially, some of the broadcasting revenue tied up with that.
As it stands, Yorkshire County Cricket Club’s first fixture of 2020 will be the Yorkshire Vikings’ trip to Leicestershire Foxes in the One-Day Cup on 2 August.
No change for recreational cricket
As for the recreational game, it remains suspended until further notice.
I’ve always assumed that county cricket would return before the grassroots game was started back up.
Time is ticking on and that leaves 6-8 weeks of a conventional season – unless we venture into October.
So…no professional domestic cricket until 1 August at earliest and recreational game stays suspended until further notice.
— Cricket Yorkshire (@cricketyorks) May 28, 2020
While the only form of recreational cricket allowed is the use of outdoor club facilities under strict guidance, it looks like cricket leagues and competitions for all age-groups will have to go back to the drawing board once again.
If there’s no Bradford Premier League (to take an example) before August then it’s hard to see it starting at all with any credibility.
Certainly not with any promotion or relegation so a T20/50-over competition or friendlies remain the viable options.
There is a glimmer of hope, as the ECB’s Harrison outlined:
“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.”
So….a further setback for the grassroots game – but what do you think?
Leave your comments below! How hopeful are you of there being any cricket this season?
How important is it for cricket clubs to get some clarity – or is waiting until August in the hope of some cricket better than none at all?
Photo of Joe Root batting is by John Heald
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Jeremy Baker says
Well very frustrating for all Cricket people, really hoped it would be early July to at least get half a season in! But letting them play Premier League Football (even if behind closed doors!) seems a bit bizarre because no way will they be social distancing! Cmon guys think again!!
John Fuller says
Hi Jeremy, very frustrating. It is a big blow for cricket clubs and the loss of an extra month for England/county games has financial implications. Not good…
Steve Aldous says
Very disappointing as was hoping a start at the beginning of July would see half a season’s cricket.
Still there is something much more serious happening out there. Better to keep safe and well.
Having said that let’s all hope we do and can see some cricket being played albeit it a few games.
Mike Bailey says
The majority of the summer without the summer game will be difficult for clubs, particularly as much maintenance work will still be required.
We’re making tiny steps forward in Austria as my club is allowed trainings for ten under restricted circumstances.
The biggest fear in non-cricketing countries is how the absence of cricket might increase the risk of youth players being lost to the game. While the Asian diaspora will stay interested, retention of native Austrians will be remarkably difficult.
My biggest fear is that some clubs with high overheads might go to the wall. A friend in London has said he sees it killing off seniors cricket – he plays close to the age of 70, but can’t see how the seniors game will continue.
John Fuller says
Thanks for that insight Mike, I feel for the groundsmen who are keeping their pitches immaculate all season without any games.
I think cricket here will match your concerns in Austria around junior participation in future. Cricket may be hit worse than other sports due to the timing of coronavirus from March. Few other sports will have lost a full season. Long time for other alternatives to cricket to take root but it’s a wonderful game so I am cautiously confident we can all bounce back in time. The next year will be a period of adjustment and challenges the game has never seen before.
Matt B says
Hi Mike what’s the name of your club in Austria?
I could be moving out there post lockdown and am eager to learn more about cricket in the country.
Barry Oliver says
Forget Leagues. Play cups only..round Robins the best quarter, semi final and finals. Try and fit in single games at a weekend…but askrge players what they are going to do..
Don’t forget how you can get scorers to social distance ..ie score in safety..and..a lot of umpires may be unwilling or unable to stand..
P. Roe says
People forget that many umpires in our leagues are over the age of 70 and are very worried about their vulnerability to Covid 19.
A lack of umpires would be a problem…but maybe players could stand at the vacant end and improve their knowledge of the game …hence the realisation of what a good job our standing officials do werk in week out.
Those who take to umpiring may fancy taking up the roll aftet retiring .
Andy Heafield says
“The cricket ball is a “vector of disease”
Better stop wearing any leather products; shoes off for most people, leather belts off, trousers falling down.
You couldn’t make it up and what a blow for the recreational cricketers looking to return to the game.
Congratulations to former England skipper, Michael Vaughan,
“I realise this is a very hard time and some very tough decisions have to be made by governments and governing bodies. But this is an easy one, compared to other life and death calls they make everyday. Get cricket back on. Give thousands of people, tired after months of lockdown, their summer sport back before it is too late”.
One person making a genuine effort to put pressure on the Government whilst the sports governing body (the ECB) seem inactive and only able to have any real enthusiasm for re-introducing cricket at the highest level. Putting out bland statements does nothing but support the notion you don’t care.