Former England captain and Surrey director of cricket Alec Stewart says that he does not expect the cricket season to start for a minimum of three months because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The ECB will meet on Friday to discuss how the season could potentially be rescheduled, but Stewart believes The Hundred and the T20 Blast could be the only competitions that go ahead as planned.
The Hundred is ECB’s new flagship domestic tournament and is due to take place for the first time this July. Whilst Stewart expects the season to have started by July, he admits this is only hypothetical as “we don’t know where this pandemic is going to.”
From an economic perspective, it would make sense that these two shorter form competitions are prioritised, since they would undoubtedly be the biggest revenue generators in what will inevitably be a tough financial year for the game.
All 18 first-class counties could face the loss of revenue from match day ticket sales, and television rights which in turn may impact players and staff if clubs cannot afford to pay wages.
The counties have therefore been in discussion with the ECB to find out how they can be supported during such uncertain times.
With eight Surrey players currently in isolation, having shown Covid-19 symptoms, the rest of the team has stopped training and the future of the club this season is worrying. The London based side are fortunate enough to be one of the more financially stable counties in first-class cricket, but the future is nonetheless worrying.
English cricket’s first domestic competition is due to start on the 12th April, but the prospect of cancellation or postponement seems all but inevitable at this stage.
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