Delayed English county cricket season to begin in August
English county cricket clubs have been given the go-ahead to finally start their 2020 season on 1 August.
The domestic campaign should have started on 12 April but was pushed back because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in the UK.
A final decision on the formats to be played in the upcoming truncated season is expected to be made after a meeting in July.
The England and Wales Cricket Board has already delayed the inaugural season of The Hundred, the new short-format competition involving new city-based teams, until 2021.
In addition, the first 10 rounds of the first-class County Championship season have been cancelled.
Out of the 18 counties, 16 have placed their playing squads on furlough, and so will now need to take them off in order to commence training. All county cricketers will continue to take pay cuts, of up to 20 per cent, in July.
Tom Harrison, the chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board, said that agreeing a date for county cricket to start was “a significant step.”
He added: “It follows extensive consultation between the counties, the Professional Cricketers’ Association and the ECB… as we prepare for a domestic season unlike any the game has faced before.”
There has been no professional cricket in the UK at all this year, with England’s home international fixtures having also been delayed.
England’s men’s side are due to finally start their international programme in Southampton on 8 July, with the first of three test matches behind closed doors against the West Indies. Pakistan are due to tour later this summer.
Harrison added that “planning for the return of the women’s domestic game remains ongoing" with hopes that the planned new elite domestic structure can still be introduced this summer.
Elsewhere, Zimbabwe's scheduled one-day-international tour of Australia, scheduled for mid-August, has been postponed.
The decision was taken mutually by Cricket Australia and Zimbabwe Cricket, with CA saying that both boards will now try to find alternative dates for the three matches, which were due to take place on 9, 12 and 15 August.
Australia's planned one-day international series in England in September has still to be confirmed.