15 Feb

The English summer’s domestic schedule could be rearranged to push the T20 Blast to the end of the season after indications that restrictions on spectators at sporting events could be in place until July. 

The present schedule has the Blast beginning in June but several counties have suggested that the County Championship, starting on April 8 and scheduled to be played in two blocks in early and late season, is either played in its entirety by mid-June or cancelled. A shortened first-class competition, similar to last year’s Bob Willis Trophy, would be played instead, perhaps with ten rounds of matches instead of 14. 

According to The Times, contingency plans are being drawn up by the ECB and the counties’ professional game group, which is led by officials from Surrey, Durham, Sussex and Nottinghamshire, to rearrange the domestic schedule to play the majority of the Blast in September — as it was in 2020 — to allow the maximum chance of counties being able to welcome spectators. The Blast is the primary source of ticket income for most counties, bringing in about £25 million a year. 

The championship and the Blast must both fit around the flagship eight-team tournament, The Hundred. The ECB is determined that its new competition, postponed last year, is played during the school holidays to maximise ticket sales and television viewing figures. 

No decision will be made on altering the summer schedule until the government has set out a clearer plan for the return of spectators.   

John Stephenson 


#Cricketnews #ECB #TheBlast #TheHundred #CountyChampionsip

* The email will not be published on the website.