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England Cricket Board Cancels Recreational Cricket Due To Coronavirus, Aim To Save County Championship

The England Cricket Board Has Cancelled Recreational Cricket And There Are Fears That The Entire County Season Could Be Played Behind Closed Doors, Cancelled Or Could Be Curtailed.

News Nation Bureau | Edited By : Siddharth Vishwanathan | Updated on: 19 Mar 2020, 10:56:48 AM
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England is now among the worst-affected by the coronavirus spread, which has led to more than 8,000 deaths and has left over 200,000 infected. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

New Delhi:

The coronavirus pandemic is wrecking international sporting calendars in Europe, with the Premier League, Serie A, La Liga all postponed while even the Euro 2020 tournament has been postponed to 2021. England is now among the worst-affected by the coronavirus spread, which has led to more than 8,000 deaths and has left over 200,000 infected. In the United Kingdom, the number of dead is above 100 with over 50,000 infected. Looking at the situation in the United Kingdom, cricket is all set to be impacted. In a report on ESPNCricinfo, the England and Wales cricket Board has discussed "contingency plans" to save the upcoming county season amid the rapidly-growing COVID-19 pandemic and suspended all recreational cricket, including pre-season friendlies and training.

The ESPNCricinfo report stated that measures such as scaling down the championship, have it behind closed doors and shrinking the duration were discussed during the call. The county season runs till September. In a statement released by the England and Wales Cricket Board, it said, "It is with sadness and reluctance that we recommend that all forms of recreational cricket are for now suspended. This extends to training, pre-season friendlies and any associated cricket activity. Sport plays an absolutely vital role in the nation's mental and physical wellbeing, and it helps people find meaning where there is fear and uncertainty, so one of our goals in the coming weeks will be to explore ways that we can support some levels of physical activity in communities - particularly at junior levels. Using our cricket community to support others could be one of the most important services we can offer during the difficult next few months. It will be critical that any decisions we do make are medically-led. And we will continue to work with Government and their advisors to ensure we are informed by science in our decision making."

Alex Hales and six Surrey cricketers are now in self-isolation over the coronavirus pandemic. (Image credit: Getty Images)

County Teams Worried

With this announcement by the England and Wales Cricket Board, and with news emerging that Alex Hales and six cricketers from Surrey are self-isolating in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, there are fears that not a single ball might be bowled in this year's championship. The County Championship will begin on April 12 but Hampshire chairman Rod Bransgrove, in an interview with the BBC, said one contingency may be "playing no cricket at all" this season.

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James Anderson, speaking to the BBC's tailender podcast, admitted that he was feeling a bit anxious that there might be no cricket at all this season. "Cricket and sport is not the be all and end all but it is my livelihood, it's all I know. There's a chance we might not even bowl a ball this summer. Also trying to keep a young family healthy. I am trying to stay calm, follow the guidelines. My wife's mum and dad live in Spain so they are in lockdown. They are in the age group where there are concerns. The anxiety is building up in our house because of not knowing what will happen in the next few months," Anderson said.

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First Published : 19 Mar 2020, 10:56:48 AM