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London [UK], June 29 : The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Monday confirmed that men’s county cricket 2020 season will begin on August 1.
However, the format of the season is yet to be finalised by the county teams in early July.
“The formats to be played during the delayed men’s county season are due to be agreed by the 18 first-class counties in early July, with a new fixture schedule to be published thereafter,” ECB said in a statement.
The ECB has also made a “commitment to play women’s domestic cricket in 2020” but may differ from the planned rollout of the new women’s elite domestic structure.
“The women’s elite domestic structure is the equivalent of the men’s county set-up and is formed of eight regions. Establishing a structure for a new competition during a pandemic has provided specific challenges for the women’s domestic game, most notably having the required medical personnel in place to handle stringent return-to-play protocols,” the statement read.
Preparation and planning for the season across the men’s and women’s domestic game remain subject to ongoing advice from the government and medical professionals with the safety of players, staff and officials the first priority.
The ECB Board has also approved the return to training of Men’s first-class county players on or before July 1. Plans for the new men’s season include options for red-ball and white-ball cricket.
A dedicated working group with representatives from the first-class counties and ECB has been formed to provide specific focus to Domestic Cricket, while COVID-19 continues to impact the game.
However, there is still no update on the status of the recreational game in England and Wales, despite reports that the government was preparing to give the sport the go-ahead for a return in early July.
“It is a significant step for our game that we are able to approve the start of the men’s domestic season for August 1 and one which will be welcomed by everyone connected with County Cricket,” ECB Chief Executive Officer Tom Harrison said.
“It follows extensive consultation between the 18 first-class counties, the Professionals Cricketers’ Association and ECB and has only been achievable thanks to the significant hard work that continues to occur as we prepare for a domestic season unlike any the game has faced before,” he added. (ANI)