County Championship at risk as cricket scrapped until May 28 but chiefs hope T20 Blast will go ahead

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CRICKET has been scrapped until May 28 at the earliest — but the game’s chiefs still hope a season of some sort can be played.

The ECB last night confirmed they are already working on revised schedules beginning in June, July or August.

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Alastair Cook Essex
Alastair Cook’s Essex face a massive delay to their County Championship defence
Getty Images – Getty

Priority will be given to the money-spinning T20 Blast, new Hundred competition and England matches as the game seeks to minimise financial losses expected to run into tens of millions of pounds.

But the 18 first-class counties remain confident that none will go bust because the ECB or Government can help bail them out if necessary.

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said: “During this period of deep uncertainty, it is the ECB’s first priority to protect the well-being of everyone within the cricket family, from players to fans and colleagues across the game.

“A delay to the start of the professional cricket season until May 28 was unavoidable.

“I am reassured by the collaborative effort from across the game that together we will make the very best of whatever length of season we are able to safely schedule in the coming months.

“Critically, we can remain as flexible and adaptable as possible within the obvious restrictions we face. Securing the future of the game will be a primary focus.’’

An initial look towards cricket in June includes the three-Test series against West Indies, the Vitality T20 Blast and England women’s matches against India.

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If June is not possible, another schedule will be drawn up for a start in July. And then August.

Options include starting the season behind closed doors and the prospect of extending it into October for the first time since the 1800s.

The decision means the first seven rounds of County Championship matches will be lost.