British Cricket Postponed Till July 1st

The impact of the CODID-19 pandemic continues to be felt throughout England and the world. The latest news out of England comes on the heels of England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announcing that cricket will remain shutdown until July 1st and could stretch beyond that depending on the stem of the virus in Britain. The board will meet on the 29th to determine how it will move forward for The Hundred, which is slated to start on the 17th of July.

Set to have started on the 12th of April, the domestic season was postponed until the 28th of May, but the England and Wales Cricket Board have now stated that will try to reschedule all international cricket matches between July and September. It also postponed the women’s limited-overs series which was slated to take place on the 25th of June against India.

Tom Harrison, chief executive of the ECB, stated: “As much as we remain hopeful that we can deliver some cricket this summer, we are in the midst of a worldwide crisis and our priority – over and above the playing of professional sport – will be to protect the vulnerable, key workers and society as a whole. That’s why simply put, there will be no cricket unless it’s safe to play. Our schedule will only go ahead if government guidance permits.”

The men’s team was scheduled to compete in three tests against the West Indies on the 4th of June and then head to Ireland, Pakistan and Australia. However, these have also been postponed, as were the women’s, who were to compete in India for two Twenty20 internationals and in July, four one-day internationals.

However, on Thursday after its board meeting, the ECB all limited-overs and domestic first-class cricket will be added to the new schedule.  Cricket West Indies chief executive officer, Johnny Grave,  said its squad only would head to England for the series in the event that its players can be assured they will be safe to do so while stating that they will be as flexible as possible without compromising the teams safety.

Closed Door Matches

There is the possibility said Tom Harrison to the BBC that country and international matches could be held without fans with officials and players staying in a “bio-secure” environment. Harrison added that the England and Wales Cricket Board is beginning to become comfortable with the fact that crowds will not be in attendance and planning of the matches is now focusing on what cricket may look like if that is the end result.

Ireland Flexible with England Cricket Series Scheduling

The Nation of Ireland confirmed their flexibility towards the rescheduling of cricket series with England, which is slated for a one-day event throughout September. This follows after Ireland’s Chief Executive of Cricket, Warren Deutrom, announced the British broadcasting centre. His announcement follows after COVID-19 continues to onslaught Great Britain and Ireland, with the England & Wales Cricket Board mentioning that summer schedules will begin on June 1st. Deutrom also confirmed the June 1st scheduling but believed this wouldn’t be possible within twelve days. The chief executive mentioned that regardless of when the seasons starts, they’ll make sure their availability is prompt and flexible.

Professional matches of Cricket throughout Ireland, Cricket and remaining Wales has been terminated until May 28th. It’s expected that the 1st series for the 2020 Summer will be England Vs West Indies on June 4th. Warren anticipates that this venue will inevitably be postponed, which follows after the England & Wales Cricket Board announced they’d be meeting on April 23rd to discuss rescheduling initiatives. Venues like “The Hundred” will experience their respective postponements as well. This follows after infection rates and death percentages in the United Kingdom haven’t fallen throughout April.
Matches planned for September 10th to 15th between Ireland and England at Trent Bridge won’t be postponed. That’s under the condition that a 2nd wave doesn’t hit the United Kingdom, prompting another increase in infections and deaths. The second wave of COVID-19 would see the Australian and Pakistan Series with England also cancelled.

Formal Statements

The English & Wales Cricket Board provided a formal statement regarding this situation. Sentiments remarked that the COVID-19 pandemic had become a jigsaw puzzle for international cricket series, with this extending towards domestic matches as well. Reps mentioned that realistic approaches must be taken from organizers, which is why regularly meetings are prompted via videoconference. Similar sentiments were mentioned by Warren Deutrom, who believes that flexibility in these unprecedented conditions will enable safer conditions for supporter and athletes. Safety conditions extend towards coaching staff, event organizers and stadium staff. Their health and safety fall under the responsibility of the ECB.

Ben Stokes Competes in Virtual F1

The Formula One Esports Virtual Grand Prix Series saw an unexpected guest on April 5th. Ben Stokes joined the grid lineup, competing for Red Bull – Aston Martin Racing. Notable drivers like Lando Norris, George Russel, Antonio Giovinazzi and Charles Leclerc competed against the Cricket Legend. Stokes couldn’t keep up the pace against these F1 Drivers, ultimately coming in the last place. Charles Leclerc was the dominating force for Ferrari and inquired a podium finish. However, large percentages of viewers tuned in to see the BBC Sports Personality of the Year. Those supporters lost a little hope for Ben Stokes when he qualified 16th with a Red Bull Racing car.

The low grid placement follows after Ben Stokes spun out on the 4th lap. It immediately placed him at the back of the grid, with 28 laps available to make up the pace. Stokes, unfortunately, was behind Johnny Herbert, who was a dominating driver in the 1st virtual Grand Prix. This made it nearly impossible for the infamous cricketer to overtake to former F1 Legend. Herbert was placed in 19th after being struck down in the fourth lap.

Charles Leclerc’s Performance

The Ferrari Driver dominated his first virtual Grand Prix while staying home safely in Monaco. There was some drama behind the scenes, with Charles often expressing his anger during practice sessions. This followed after he’d practice for five hours daily, frustrating his girlfriend. She demanded he calm down his tone before the race. That’s why supporters of Charles Leclerc couldn’t hear much from the driver, making sure that his girlfriend and neighbours are happy. He even mentioned that yelling at that volume would’ve upset himself if he heard from another person.

It should be noted that all the vehicles in F1 Esports Grand Prix Series have the same performance levels, ensuring that the skillsets of drivers push them forward. That’s what would’ve made this a challenging experience for Ben Stokes, who was hoping to receive a specialized power boost with his Red Bull. When it applies to the top three drivers of last weekends race, Charles Leclerc came first, and Alex Albon came in second. George Russel jumped on the podium with a third position.

PCA Donates to COVID-19 Relief Aid

The Professional Cricketers Association released an updated statement of the coronavirus situation. It was noted in their press release that contracted players agreed to donate £500,000.00 towards ensuring that Cricket doesn’t enter a financial crisis. This follows after thousands are being lost daily from merchandise sales, limited television broadcasts and cancelled advertiser payments. This means that all associated PCA members will receive a 25% pay cut going forward.

The PCA President revealed last week that £61 Million would be donated in Aid Packages for healthcare professionals and families battling the novel coronavirus. This is the most significant donation made in the Professional Cricketers Association, which is being assisted with the European Cricket Board. Both entities previously confirmed that all British and European-based matches would be terminated until May 28th. It’s expected that this period will be prolonged until July 1st or later.

The European Cricket Board confirmed before their donation that administrative staff would be placed onto the British Reduced Pay Retention Scheme. This includes their executives and president, ensuring that significant funds can be reserved until matches are resumed. It should be noted that athletes worldwide have received cuts to their salaries throughout the last month. This includes players with the La Liga Football Series in Spain. It’s expected that pay cuts will follow for the Premier League as well.

The Meeting

Statements made through the Professional Cricketers Association mentioned that a meeting was held between all PCA Members through Zoom. Delegations were held for a short period before the collective group determined £500,000.00 to be the best valuation for league-wide insurance. This meeting also concluded the donations valuation, with sporting analysts being shocked to learn the PCA and ECB will make the most significant charitable donation of any British-based sports league.

It should be mentioned that these significant donations to charity and insurance policies for the league will cost a 25% reduction in salaries for administrative staff. Coaches and players will receive a 20% reduction in contracted payments. It’s suspected that £300 Million could be saved from these agreements, ensuring that European Cricket will remain active after COVID-19.

Secondary Postponement Possible for 2021

Healthcare Professionals in the scientific community have begun to urge members of the public about a potential relapse of COVID-19. Similar to the Spanish Flu, there’s a chance that this virus could return throughout the 2020-21 Winter Months. It’d prompt the European Cricket Board and Professional Cricket’s Association to postpone their seasons for another prolonged period. This is purely speculation on behalf of sporting analysts receiving medical data from government-employed healthcare professionals.