• REUTERS

  • SHARE

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday extended the suspension of the professional game in the country until July 1 due to the coronavirus outbreak.

As a result, England's three-match home test series against the West Indies, scheduled for June, and the women's T20 and ODI matches against India in June and July will be moved to different dates.

"As much as we remain hopeful that we can deliver some cricket this summer, we are in the midst of a worldwide crisis and our priority … will be to protect the vulnerable, key workers and society," ECB CEO Tom Harrison said in a statement.

"That's why, simply put, there will be no cricket unless it's safe to play. Our schedule will only go ahead if government guidance permits. Our plan is to reschedule international matches as late as possible in the season to give the best chance of play."

The decision also means nine rounds of fixtures will be lost in the County Championship season while the Vitality Blast, due to start May 28, will be pushed as late in the season as possible to give it the best opportunity of being staged.

Surrey chairman Richard Thompson told the BBC they had to consider completing the county season in the United Arab Emirates, while Harrison said there have been offers from other countries to host games.

"It's not limited to Abu Dhabi," Harrison was quoted as saying in local media. "We've had informal offers from multiple boards as far away as New Zealand and Australia about hosting ECB cricket. Everything is on the table."

England all-rounder Chris Woakes said players would agree to be quarantined together in one location if it means they will be allowed to play matches and Harrison said the right venues would be picked in such a scenario.

"Inevitably, behind closed doors does change the venue allocation and the mindset," Harrison said. "Venues that are best suited to providing the right conditions will be in a strong position.

"You can see what other sports are considering: allocating neutral venues for all matches and then playing in those.

"That's the lens we're putting on this. What's the minimum number of grounds we need for our desired international schedule and how to cater for that."

Your news needs your support

Since the early stages of the COVID-19 crisis, The Japan Times has been providing free access to crucial news on the impact of the novel coronavirus as well as practical information about how to cope with the pandemic. Please consider subscribing today so we can continue offering you up-to-date, in-depth news about Japan.

Coronavirus banner