Lancashire has cancelled its playing contract with three overseas players — BJ Watling, Glenn Maxwell and James Faulkner — owing to the uncertainty surrounding the cricket season given the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

New Zealand wicketkeeper-batsman Watling was signed for the opening nine County Championship games while the Australian duo of Maxwell and Faulkner were signed up for the T20 Blast.

However, given the cancellation of all fixtures until May 28, and the current uncertainty surrounding the season beyond that date, Lancashire’s Director of Cricket Paul Allott contacted all three players and representatives over the last two weeks and having explained the situation, it was mutually agreed that all three contracts for the 2020 season would be cancelled.

Allott said: “These are clearly very uncertain and challenging times for all counties both financially and operationally and it’s clear the issues we face at the moment will have an impact on the way we prepare for the domestic season.”

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“The overseas player situation is a policy that has been discussed nationwide and we think it’s prudent to mutually come to an agreement with the players we had originally signed. We will keep in touch with the players and their representatives, and as part of the agreement we’ve come to, we do have an option to sign them for the 2021 campaign.

Opportunities for home-grown players

“Clearly, we are looking at a condensed and truncated season, and whilst it is of course disappointing not to have any overseas players at our disposal, it does mean that we will be able to give our young, and homegrown players increased opportunities,” he added.

In addition, the club has also agreed with all staff a 20 per cent salary reduction in May. This has also been unanimously agreed to by the Lancashire players. “I would also like to thank the current Lancashire squad for agreeing to a 20 per cent salary reduction for the month of May,” Allott said.

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“The players were very keen that any salary reductions for them should be in line with the rest of the club’s staff. It has truly been a unified approach to what is a very difficult situation we currently find ourselves in,” he added.