Cricket

English domestic cricket set to return on August 1

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General view of the new Grade 1 Tiflex County Cricket Ball.

Image credit: PA Sport

ByEnis Koylu
29/06/2020 at 15:19 | Updated 29/06/2020 at 15:30

Domestic cricket will begin in England on August 1, though the format for professional competition is yet to be decided by first-class counties.

The domestic season usually begins in April but has been pushed back repeatedly due to the coronavirus pandemic, despite the UK government giving the green light for sport to resume behind closed doors from June 1.

The counties will meet in early July to discuss a framework for how the competitions will work, with a statement to be made in due course. There is also a commitment that women's cricket will take place in some form. Professional players can resume training on or before July 1.

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ECB CEO Tom Harrison said: “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.

“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.”

The England national cricket team will return to action on July 8 with a three-Test series against the West Indies.

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