11 Apr

Specsavers' deals to sponsor both the County Championship and England men's Tests against West Indies and Pakistan has elapsed without a replacement being confirmed for the 2020 season according to ESPN. Specsavers, the opticians and eye-test specialists became the County Championship's principal sponsor in February 2016, on a four-year deal that was due to end after the 2019 season. Two years later, they took over from Investec as principal sponsors of England men's home Tests, on an initial two-year deal that encompassed high-profile series against India in 2018 and Australia the following year. At this stage been renewed, despite the huge publicity the company received after the bespectacled Jack Leach played a key role in England's famous victory in last summer's third Ashes Test. Specsavers branding has been removed from all social-media references to the County Championship and England's Test series in 2020, as well as from the ECB's official website. 

This year's County Championship had been due to get underway at the weekend, with the first round of four-day games originally scheduled to start on April 12, Easter Sunday. However, the season has been postponed to May 28 at the earliest due to the Covid-19 outbreak, and further delays are anticipated with the UK currently implementing social distancing measures to combat the spread of the virus. Tom Harrison, the ECB chief executive, recently stated, in a letter that a complete cancellation of the English season could cost the game up to £300 million.

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