In a statement issued Friday morning, following a meeting of the board of directors on Thursday evening, the ECB confirmed that no professional match will take place before July 1 due to the Covid-19 pandemic then that the governing body continues to await the green light from the government.
The news means that England’s series of tests against the West Indies in June is postponed until later in the summer of the northern hemisphere – provided that cricket can be organized – just like the T20 Blast, which is considered to be vital for the 18 first-class counties. .
This is the second time that the ECB has postponed the start date – after initially excluding all cricket before May 28 – but although there are blocks dedicated to red ball cricket in the calendar plans for a reduced season , there is no guarantee that the County Championship can take place since the first nine rounds are now complete.
The ECB also had to confirm a 12-month postponement to the Cent – its new 100-ball tournament with eight invented national teams – but this decision was rather made available to a dedicated board meeting on Wednesday next.
Tom Harrison, Director General of the ECB, said: “While we remain hopeful of being able to deliver cricket this summer, we are in the midst of a global crisis and our priority – beyond professional sport – will be to protect vulnerable, key workers and society at large.
“That’s why, quite simply, there will be no cricket unless he is sure to play. Our schedule will only continue if government directives allow. “
To this end, the ECB also confirmed that the recreational cricket season was suspended “until further notice”. With regard to the big match days, the governing body continues to explore “bio-security” conditions that could allow cricket to be played behind closed doors.
Harrison added, “Our biggest challenge, with other sports, is how we could seek to implement a biosecurity solution that provides optimal safety and security for everyone involved. The advice we receive from Westminster will help us shape the way we do this.
“Our plan is to reschedule international matches as late in the season as possible to give the best chance to play. The Vitality Blast will now occupy the last season space possible to provide as much time as possible to compete in a county competition in short form. “