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Agencies
March 28, 2020

ECB mulls closed-doors resumption of pro cricket

Sports

A
Agencies
March 28, 2020

LONDON: There will be no professional cricket until May 28 at the earliest.

The England and Wales Cricket Board has indicated it could install coronavirus checkpoints and isolation units at grounds this summer to resume the game behind closed doors.

The ECB has acknowledged there will be no professional cricket until May 28 at the earliest, but it is stepping up its planning for a potential resumption of international action with no spectators.

The ECB’s director of events Steve Elworthy told the Guardian that such an eventuality would essentially require a sterile bubble to ensure the identification of anyone in the vicinity who was carrying the virus. “We’re mapping out what international matches would look like behind closed doors,” Elworthy told the Guardian.

Alluding to the government’s initial advice prior to the current lockdown, he added: “The advice around mass gatherings was 500 people or fewer. That was guided by the potential impact on critical services like paramedics and doctors.

The ECB Board has agreed that no professional cricket will be played in England and Wales before 28 May due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “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.” But former England captain Michael Vaughan questioned the logic of extending behind-closed-doors cricket to domestic competitions such as The Hundred.

Vaughan wrote in his column in the Telegraph: “The Hundred has been designed to bring in a new audience and if you are playing it behind closed doors, does that not defeat the point of it? “Clearly, delaying it 12 months would involve giving money back to Sky and the BBC. Perhaps the gap could be filled by showing the Blast instead (again assuming we can play cricket at all).

“Or has the ECB spent so much money on The Hundred and run down its reserves, it just has to play it regardless? My guess is that is the case.”