ECB discussing behind-closed-doors resumption

Cricket postponed until May 28

Lords Cricket Ground England

The prospect of England playing matches behind closed doors is being discussed by the ECB.

The cricket season in England and Wales has already been postponed until May 28 but the prospect of matches without fans is also being considered by the governing body.

Plans involving Coronavirus checkpoints and isolation units at grounds are being considered according to the ECB’s Steve Elworthy. England’s Test series at home to the West Indies is still scheduled for June 4 at the Oval.

“We're mapping out what international matches would look like behind closed doors,” said Elworthy during an interview with the Guardian.

For games to be able to go ahead, the idea of isolating stadiums is one option being put forward. Plans are being worked around the government’s initial advice of no gatherings of more than 500 people.

“That was guided by the potential impact on critical services like paramedics and doctors,” he said.

“You would likely have to work within that number (which would be made up of essential matchday staff). Then you have to think about medical provisions, creating a safe and sterile environment around that venue, so that everyone who comes in is clear.

“So it's how you test them at the gate, the isolation units that you have to put in. These are considerations we are thinking about.”

The Hundred may have to wait

The ECB has already said that International cricket, the T20 Blast and the Hundred would take priority over the County Championship in the wake of the Coronavirus disruption.

However, there is still the chance that while International cricket may continue behind closed doors, the new Hundred tournament may be delayed until next year.

Durham chief executive Tim Bostock has been part of talks between the 18 first-class counties and the ECB about the issue. He believes that delaying The Hundred is still a real possibility.

Speaking to The Cricket Collective show on talkSPORT 2, he said: “The good news is we’re all on the same path in terms of what the priorities are and that includes the ECB as well.

“It’s pretty clear international cricket comes first, then after that it’s the Blast and the Hundred. That’s where the revenue is.

“Protecting the Hundred is important, although in the conversations I’ve had with the ECB, if it ends up being a two-month season, a view will be taken about whether this is really the right time to launch the Hundred.”

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Chris is passionate about all forms of cricket and loves writing about the sport. He has a background in both sport and news journalism and has written cricket and other sports content for several years now. Chris has written about all levels of the game from regional club cricket in England to the international stage. He now brings that experience to the iGaming industry where he combines it with his love of betting. Chris loves to bet on many different sports, but particularly enjoys seeking out the best value bets on offer and passing that on through his coverage.