@Yas_Wisden 3 minute read
With no professional cricket set to take place in England until May 28 at the earliest – a date that looks increasingly optimistic – the 2020 first-class season, if it takes place at all, is likely to look vastly different to what it does in an ordinary year.
The Championship is the domestic competition most obviously affected by the suspension of cricket with the seventh round of the County Championship originally scheduled to conclude by May 25. There is also a very real possibility that even if professional cricket returns this summer there is no room left for domestic first-class cricket in the schedule as the ECB understandably prioritises tournaments of more financial importance to the 18 counties.
Yorkshire director of cricket Martyn Moxon has proposed a solution for what a truncated first-class season could look like if there is deemed to be enough time for some sort of first-class season in 2020. Speaking to the Yorkshire Post, Moxon said: “Whether it would be classed as first-class cricket, who knows, but if we haven’t got the time to get a full Championship season in, or enough Championship games to warrant promotion and relegation, then I’d like us to look at whether there is a different, one-off competition that we could have this year which can provide us with competitive red-ball cricket.
“Perhaps it could be like an old Benson and Hedges-type format, where you play your local groups and then have quarter-finals, semi-finals and a final – basically, something that gives you something positive to play for. It depends on when we start, of course, but in that particular scenario it wouldn’t be playing for the County Championship, you’d have to call it something else – the red-ball cup, or whatever you want to call it. It would be a shortened version of the Championship, but if you’re only playing half-a-dozen games, or whatever, you couldn’t really call it the Championship and have promotion and relegation.”
While there is a reluctance to play a shortened version of the County Championship – Alastair Cook recently said that not holding a Championship would be better than an staging an abridged one – an altogether separate competition might have more support. But with the nationwide lockdown not obviously any closer to coming to an end, a suggestion like Moxon’s, where an entire tournament takes place in the space of five weeks, might still be overly optimistic.
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