“Any further delays … will bring cricket loss”: ECB chief Tom Harrison warns of danger if corona virus crisis causes more cancellations, but insists The Hundred remains a vital target
- ECB CEO Tom Harrison fears the financial consequences of the lost season
- Cricket is expected to restart on May 28, but has been delayed until July due to coronavirus
- For further problems, several international competitions and The Hundred can be dropped
- However, Harrison insisted that playing the new league remained a top priority
- Here’s how you can help people affected by Covid-19
English cricket supremo Tom Harrison has warned of serious financial implications for the sport, fearing that the new season will not take place at all due to the corona virus crisis.
The ECB confirmed that cricket would not be possible on July 1 at the earliest, as the start of summer was initially delayed until May 28. But that does not leave a squiggly room if the board fulfills the numerous international obligations in the field of domestic flights.
Another delay, however short, and those England’s money-spinning matches – played behind closed doors – will disappear from the schedule. Which opens the door to the very real possibility that English fans will not see live cricket at all this summer – on the grounds or on television.
ECB chief Tom Harrison admitted that there would be financial consequences if the delay lasts longer than July 1
Harrison hopes this isn’t the case, but reiterated that if we didn’t see a ball bowling, the controversial new Hundred will be the game’s long-term savior.
“Of course we’re planning that,” Harrison said of an empty summer, “because that’s a wise financial planning. But it would be a great pity. We desperately hope with every tendon that this is not what happens, but it remains possible. ‘
The ECB still hopes to start home summer with a series of three tests against the West Indies, which would begin on June 4.
This is followed by three 50-over and Twenty20 games each against Australia, three tests and three T20s against Pakistan and three ODIs against Ireland.
Harrison insisted that The Hundred was vital to the ECB, but the future this year is now uncertain
“We’ve developed a schedule that gives us the opportunity to step up those games with a fresh breeze,” said Harrison. “But we’re probably now coming to the point that further delays mean cricket loss instead of realignment.”
But he insisted that the Hundred remains the game’s best hope of breaking through the crisis.
The new league, which opens on July 17, will certainly be postponed by a year due to the pandemic, but Harrison (below) argued that the game’s financial future made the tournament’s success even more important.
He said, “The Hundred is a profit center for the game in this country.
“It will generate significant commercial value and help us keep the lights on through the network, making the county cricket really long and healthy. It will also help broaden our audience.
There is hope that the current schedule of test matches can be completed this year
“There will be a huge buzz for all the sports that come out of this crisis. So I don’t think this somehow weakens the case for the Hundred. It definitely speeds it up and makes it something cricket needs to figure out.
“The top-notch provinces understand the importance of this match to the future of the game and how it will help us achieve stability for everything cricket has cared about for hundreds of years. That is super important. ‘
A statement on the Hundred is expected next week, but for now the focus is on finding a way to squeeze the international men’s and women’s competitions in July, August and September – a scenario that is complicated by the fact that Eoin Morgan’s white ball teams must fly to India on September 16.
With spectators excluded while social distance measures continue, the ECB favors the use of as few locations as possible – including organizing matches on neutral grounds.
The government remains uncertain about how quickly top-level sporting events can be reintroduced
At the request of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Department, the ECB is examining the viability of biosafe sport, leading the way on behalf of football, rugby, tennis and horse racing.
But Harrison emphasized the need for a “ significant testing regimen ” and urged the sport to consider its place in the bigger plan.
He said, “At the moment, testing elite athletes simply cannot be a priority in the context of the national health crisis and the problems frontline workers and vulnerable people face.” A last resort would be to play matches abroad.
One report claims Abu Dhabi would be willing to host games between October and January, although Harrison said he had not been approached by UAE officials.
A statement about The Hundred’s condition is expected to be made within a week