England player participation in the Hundred expected to take a hit amid Covid chaos but the ECB insist the Royal London Cup is NOT under threat… with work underway to stop infections infiltrating dressing rooms
- A host of England stars are available for their respective teams’ first three ties
- But the ECB are reassessing to help stop Covid-19 infiltrating dressing rooms
- Fears are mounting that counties will not field an XI in a 50-over competition
- ECB chief Tom Harrison is ‘hopeful’ that every scheduled game will be played
England player participation in the Hundred is expected to be reduced but the ECB insist the Royal London Cup is not under threat as Covid withdrawals threaten to decimate domestic squads.
The likes of Ben Stokes, Joe Root and Jos Buttler have been made available for their respective teams’ first three fixtures but the ECB are reassessing as they mitigate against the risk of infections infiltrating dressing rooms at a time when bio-secure bubbles have been consigned to the past.
In what is a critical month financially for the ECB, their new 100-ball competition – which launches next Wednesday – overlaps with a Test series against India worth £100million in television money alone.
England player participation in the Hundred is expected to take a hit as Covid-19 takes its toll
The ECB are reassessing players’ involvement to prevent the virus infiltrating dressing rooms
‘Clearly we’ve got to make sure that we protect the India series but also it’s important they take part in the Hundred,’ said the Hundred’s managing director Sanjay Patel.
‘We’re just working through how that works. The thinking is around their travel, their accommodation – how do we make sure they’re not in close contact with anyone outside of the environment? Do we need to put additional protocols around them?
‘I’m expecting them to play at the start of the Hundred, we just need to work out how many games that will be.’
Derbyshire’s final two Vitality Blast fixtures were cancelled this week, primarily due to tracing isolation rules, and fears are growing that counties will not be able to field XIs in a 50-over competition if county playing resources are tested further.
ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said he’s ‘very hopeful’ every scheduled game will be played
The Hundred has already cherry-picked the country’s top 96 white-ball cricketers and others may follow as Covid substitutes, challenging the integrity of the one-day cup.
However, speaking at a media briefing for the Hundred, ECB chief executive Tom Harrison countered: ‘I’m personally very hopeful we can play every game that’s scheduled to be played.
‘I think we have to be mindful of the fact the impact of Covid is out there but there’s certainly no plans at the moment to say we’re not going to play the RL 50.’
Meanwhile, the ECB say ticket sales for the Hundred are north of 350,000, surpassing the 60 per cent capacity target for year one.
Share this article
Source: Read Full Article