THE ENGLAND and WALES CRICKET BOARD have announced that the 2020 Men’s County season is to start on August 1.
The statement will be well-received by cricket enthusiasts as the game continued to take tentative steps toward normality following the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent suspension of sport back in March.
A meeting in early July between all of the First-Class Counties will verify on a format to continue, while the Women’s domestic game remains committed to playing this summer with their won domestic structure also under discussion.
A statement provided by the ECB from Chief Executive Officer, Tom Harrison, explained; “It is a significant step for our game that we are able to approve the start of the men’s domestic season for 1 August and one which will be welcomed by everyone connected with County Cricket.
“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.
“It must be stressed that the safety of our players, staff and officials has been the first priority through all discussions and Government guidance will continue to shape our planning and preparation.
Mr Harrison continued: “Planning for the return of the women’s domestic game remains ongoing, but our commitment to women’s domestic cricket is unwavering and we look forward to sharing further news shortly.
“Our strong preference is that the women’s new elite domestic structure starts this summer and we will work hard to ensure that happens. For this to be achieved, brand new infrastructure still needs to be rolled-out, alongside imperatives we need in place when playing competitive cricket during a pandemic.
“Our first choice remains to do everything we can to start this year and build on the fantastic momentum in the women’s game. In the event that proves impossible, we will explore other options for play to enable our women’s players to enjoy competitive domestic cricket in 2020.
“We will continue to work closely with both the men’s and women’s domestic game to ensure necessary safety measures are in place to protect the wellbeing of everyone involved.”