Counties vote to play red and white ball cricket when season starts on 1 August

Counties vote to play red and white ball cricket when season starts on 1 August

Essex were crowned 2019 county champions in September

English cricket’s 18 counties have passed a majority vote to play both red ball and white ball cricket when the delayed 2020 season starts on 1 August.

After three and a half months lost following the coronavirus pandemic, several dissenting counties had hoped to play white-ball cricket only, as it is more financially beneficial.

But the majority also wanted first-class cricket to appease members.

A fixture list is still to be released by the England and Wales Cricket Board.

But that is expected to be approved in the next few days, with an official start date of Saturday, 1 August.

There is still no decision yet made on when, or if, crowds will be allowed, at any point between then and the end of September.

After their meeting on Tuesday, the 18 first-class counties (FCC) said, in a statement: “Ticket holders for men’s domestic matches and FCC members are set to be contacted by venues with the options available to them after a new fixture schedule is announced.

“Today’s agreement by the FCCs will be passed on for ECB Board approval in the coming days after which the details of the new fixture schedule will be drawn up and then announced.

“The safety and wellbeing of all players, staff and officials remains the priority of the ECB. All FCCs will undergo further medical risk assessments and venue compliance approval as planning progresses to ensure safe environments.”

Late September finish in store

The originally scheduled 2020 season was due to end on 25 September.

That would have been the final day of the final round of County Championship fixtures, to follow T20 Blast Finals Day at Edgbaston on the preceding Saturday.

The latest end to an English county cricket season was in 2017, when they finished on 29 September.

Two competitions of four-day and Twenty20 cricket have been under discussion to fill the revised two-month window, based on regional groups.

It was announced back in April that the ECB’s new competition, The Hundred, would be postponed until 2021.

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