Coronavirus pandemic: Sports irrelevant at the moment, says Nasser Hussain

Ruben Hill
March 26, 2020

And this season the plan was to throw the Hundred into the mix, with a cast of high-profile overseas stars including Australia Test captain Steve Smith. The board hoped that these leagues with eight franchises would entice new audiences to ladies's and males's cricket.

"One thing the European Central Bank will have to do is prioritise the financial decisions in all this - Test match cricket, white-ball cricket", he told Sky Sports.

Once clarity emerges regarding the length of the season, the decision will then be heavily influenced by the cricket deemed most desirable by Sky Sports and the BBC, the two broadcast partners who have just begun a rights deal with the European Central Bank that is theoretically worth £1.1bn over the next five years.

"It's pretty clear worldwide cricket comes first, then after that it's the Blast and the Hundred". And although England's Test series at home to the West Indies is not meant to commence until June 4 this may not begin on time either now with the European Central Bank saying on Tuesday there "is uncertainty surrounding when, or if, the domestic and worldwide summer will start".

The England & Wales Cricket Board is now working through various scenarios based on how long the season is postponed. It is hard for us to ascertain what to expect from the game's results. Our options include indoor matches or cancellations of parts of the season.

Durham Cricket Chief Executive, Tim Bostock, said "Throughout this ongoing situation the Senior Leadership team at the club have been meeting on a daily basis and reviewing our operational practices in line with Government advice".

Global cricket is the No 1 priority for the board given its broadcast value followed by the Vitality Blast and the Hundred. "That's where the revenue is", Bostock told Talksport radio after talks between the counties and the European Central Bank.

"Tom Harrison [the European Central Bank chief executive] has been really pragmatic about this". I certainly get the impression if we get a two-month season the pragmatic view would be what's the point of launching this competition now?

One of cricket's leading administrators has admitted European Central Bank may be forced to delay the launch of their new Hundred competition until next year.

Reigning county champions Essex have suggested regional games between neighbouring teams as a way of keeping first-class cricket going if the usual two-division format has to be abandoned. 'If it's a four or three-month season there will be plenty of county (championship) cricket in the schedules.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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