English County Championship to begin on August 1, says ECB

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Monday gave the nod for professional men's county cricket to start its season on August 1.

In this picture taken on May 27, head groundsman Craig Harvey tends to the outfield at the County Ground, home of Northamptonshire County Cricket Club, in Northampton, England. The English domestic season has been pushed back to August 1.   -  AP

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Monday gave the nod for professional men's county cricket to start its season on August 1.

READ: Surrey, Middlesex to play pre-season friendly from July 26

The men's County Championship was initially scheduled to start on April 12, with 10 rounds scheduled up to August 1, but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The fixtures and the format for the season is to be decided by the 18 first-class counties in a meeting in early July. “It's a significant step for our game that we are able to approve the start of the men's domestic season for Aug. 1 and one which will be welcomed by everyone connected with County Cricket,” ECB CEO Tom Harrison said in a statement.

“It must be stressed that the safety of our players, staff and officials has been the first priority through all discussions and government guidance will continue to shape our planning and preparation.”

Harrison added that plans for the return of the women's domestic game remain ongoing.

England's county cricketers will continue to take pay cuts of up to 20 per cent in June and July as counties reel from the financial impact of the pandemic.

On the international cricket front, England return to action following the COVID-19 stoppage with three tests against the West Indies next month.

The first match is scheduled to begin in Southampton on July 8 without spectators.

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