England brace themselves for county return amid COVID pandemic

England brace themselves for county return amid COVID pandemic

Alec Stewart, Surrey’s director of cricket, also sounded optimistic about the game taking place.

Sam Curran
Sam Curran. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

County cricket is all set to return to England amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Surrey and Middlesex are scheduled to play a two-day friendly match on July 26 and July 27 behind closed doors. The contest would be streamed live on Surrey’s official Facebook page and their website, kiaoval.com. In a statement, the county team conformed that the game would be played with a red ball.

Earlier, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) confirmed that no competitive cricket would be played until August 1. But there’s hope that in the same month, county cricket should be returning. International cricket resumes next month though with West Indies’ tour of England.

Regarding the friendly match, the statement read: “It will pit the two London rivals against each other, as both sides prepare to hopefully return to competitive action the following weekend.”

Alec Stewart, Surrey’s director of cricket, also sounded optimistic about the game taking place. “I’m really excited to hopefully see cricket return to the Kia Oval at the end of July and then for the rest of the season,” Stewart was quoted as saying.

England suffering due to COVID-19

The inaugural edition of the Hundred had to be postponed until 2021. Moeen Ali, the skipper of the Birmingham Phoenix, spoke in favour of the decision. Moreover, the T20 Blast had to be deferred as well. A number of counties had to terminate contracts in the wake of the current scenario.

As far as international cricket is concerned, the opening Test against the West Indies is set to be played from July 8 at the Rose Bowl in Southampton. The second and third Test would be played at the Old Trafford in Manchester. The Caribbean players have already reached the English soil with their 14-member squad and 11 reserve cricketers. ‘

Thereafter from July 30 onwards, England would be hosting Pakistan for a T20I and Test series. The tour starts at the iconic Lord’s Cricket Ground in London. England cricket has suffered quite a bit in this phase. The tour of Sri Lanka couldn’t take place due to the coronavirus pandemic. The United Kingdom (UK) has been one of the most affected in the current scenario.