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ECB delay start of season until May 28
England News

ECB delay start of season until May 28

There will be no professional cricket in England and Wales before May 28 due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was announced by the ECB.

The England and Wales Cricket Board approved a seven-week delay to the start of the upcoming season following discussions with the counties as well as the Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA).

The County Championship, which consists of four-day first class matches, was scheduled to start from April 12.

The Champion County match, which is the annual curtain raiser for the start of season, was set to be played between the Marylebone Cricket Club and Essex later on in March, but was called off following an ongoing crisis.

The ECB said it had begun exploring a range of options to start off the season in June, July or August. The immediate focus is on options for cricket in June including the three-Test series against West Indies, the Vitality Blast and England Women's series against India.

The West Indies Test series is due to start at the Oval from June 4.

"With the information available to us at the moment a delay to the start of the professional cricket season until May 28 was unavoidable," said ECB chief executive officer Tom Harrison.

"This also allows us time to keep pace with a fast-moving situation and continue to plan for how a revised season might look. Critically, we can also remain as flexible and adaptable as possible, within the obvious restrictions we face.

"Securing the future of the game will be a primary focus as we plot a revised schedule with an emphasis on the most financially important forms of the game for the counties across international and domestic cricket."

PCA chief executive Tony Irish, in a statement, said: "These are unprecedented times which require the right decisions to be made for all, including everyone working, and involved, in cricket.

"The PCA supports this decision to delay the start of the season based on expert advice relating to health and wellbeing and taking into account the government's position."