The England and Wales Cricket Board has announced that there will be no professional cricket until at least 1 July due to the coronavirus pandemic, meaning that fans of Lancashire Cricket will have to wait even longer to see their side in action.
Officials at the ECB are still liaising with government and health experts as well as broadcast partners to figure out the best way to fulfil as many fixtures, both domestically and internationally as possible.
It was confirmed that nine rounds of the County Championship will be lost, but the governing body has said there will be blocks for both red-ball and white-ball cricket this summer.
The Vitality Blast – the domestic T20 competition – will be pushed back as late as possible to give the best possibility of it being staged. All matches previously scheduled for June will be moved.
International cricket for both men and women will take place from July until the end of September with the West Indies Test series and the women’s matches against India both being moved.
An additional board meeting on The Hundred will be held next Wednesday following a request to dedicate a further session to he competition.
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.
“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.”
Image credit: Barry Mitchell/Lancashire Cricket