Professional cricket is on hold once again as the ECB postponed the season until at least July 1st earlier today.
Nine rounds of County Championship action will be lost with delays to England men’s and women’s series against West Indies and India.
The Hundred’s debut season is also in jeopardy – a further meeting to discuss its future is scheduled for next Wednesday – while the Vitality Blast is set to be moved as far back in the season as possible.
In a statement, ECB CEO Tom Harrison said: “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 – over and above the playing of professional sport – will be to protect the vulnerable, key workers and society as a whole.
“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 role as a national governing body during a crisis of this scale requires us to carefully plan alongside cricket’s stakeholders and supporters to attempt to overcome COVID-19’s impact on this season.”
While a significant chunk of red-ball cricket has been lost the ECB are optimistic about finding space for it in a revised schedule.
The Vitality Blast will be pushed to the back-end of the season, but expensive question marks loom over The Hundred.
Cancelling the inaugural tournament would cost £10m and despite an extra board meeting scheduled in to discuss its future, restrictions to travel for its overseas stars – including Steve Smith, Kane Williamson and Andre Russell – as well as the viability of any public gatherings in the near future mean a likely cancellation for the much-maligned event.