Hundred, Blast set to be prioritised as ECB attracts up COVID-19 contingency plans



8:21 PM GMT

    George DobellSenior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

    The ECB might prioritise the Hundred and the T20 Blast because it makes an attempt to salvage one thing from the 2020 season.With the season sure to be curtailed by the COVID-19 disaster and the game struggling extreme financial hardship as a consequence, it seems there will likely be an try and squeeze in probably the most instantly profitable codecs in a bid to maintain the sport by way of a interval of tribulation unprecedented in peace time. Consequently, there’s a rising chance that, for the primary time since 1945, the County Championship won’t be contested.A number of days of talks between numerous representatives – counties, gamers, broadcasters, amongst others – have resulted in a raft of suggestions that will likely be mentioned by the ECB board on Friday. If these discussions proceed with out complication, the ECB will make an announcement inside the subsequent three or 4 days.ALSO READ: The preliminary announcement could reveal comparatively little. In a fast-moving scenario, the ECB is unlikely to commit itself to something past an acceptance that the beginning of the season will likely be delayed by a minimal of six or seven weeks.However that delay would wipe out the primary seven scheduled rounds of Championship cricket. And with even probably the most optimistic assumptions accepting that the season is unlikely to begin till some weeks after that – maybe in July as a best-case situation – it’s clear the home and worldwide schedule must be revised.With a number of first-class counties dwelling an nearly hand-to-mouth existence, the precedence at home degree is prone to be staging the matches that are prone to produce probably the most income by way of ticket gross sales. It will additionally present the broadcasters with content material.Which competitors happens first stays to be seen. Whereas the Hundred is at the moment scheduled to begin on July 17, the ECB is worried in regards to the catastrophic impact of the virus on ticket gross sales and the possible drop-out of abroad gamers. It’s, due to this fact, attainable the Blast, the prevailing T20 competitors with a loyal following amongst county supporters, is staged first with the Hundred following later in the summertime.It’s attainable some first-class cricket may be performed within the ultimate weeks of the season. One choice could be to stage such video games in the course of the Hundred – Ashley Giles, the director of England males’s cricket, was suggesting this even earlier than the present disaster – although there’s a worry there won’t be sufficient matches to retain the integrity of the County Championship competitors. As an alternative there could possibly be some regional competitors requiring fewer video games and fewer journey and even simply the staging of first-class friendlies.It’s arduous to see the place the 50-over competitors might match into this truncated schedule, although with just a little creativeness it might, maybe, be performed as a knockout competitors.There have additionally been solutions that the ECB might use its strategic infrastructure fund – supposedly value round £50m – to plug the opening within the sport’s funds. One or two golf equipment, notably Leicestershire, had been precariously positioned even earlier than this newest problem; a comparatively small mortgage or grant might make all of the distinction at this stage.Strategies that the gamers might settle for a pay lower seem untimely. Actually contractually, there is no such thing as a manner they are going to be obliged to take action. However the Skilled Cricketers’ Affiliation chairman, Daryl Mitchell, did inform the Telegraph that “nothing is off the desk” and, in these extraordinary occasions, it appears nearly something is feasible.Discussions about rescheduling worldwide fixtures stay ongoing. ESPNcricinfo revealed on Wednesday that CWI had provided to host England’s residence sequence in opposition to Pakistan and West Indies, probably in September, however it’s too early to decide to any such plans. It stays attainable that no cricket in any respect will likely be performed within the 2020 season.All the pieces depends upon the progress of the Covid-19 pandemic. And whereas few would declare to have the ability to predict that, the ECB does seem to have drawn up contingency plans to present the sport the most effective likelihood to outlive past this disaster.

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