Cricketers set to salvage some action from 2020 season
- Credit: Archant
Cricketers stumped by a virus-ruined summer are poised to salvage at least some action when the 2020 season is finally allowed to start on August 1.
A shortened programme of league 'friendlies' is planned, with no promotion or relegation, but that will hardly dismay players for whom the glorious weather has merely added to their frustration.
Ex-Torquay wicketkeeper Nigel Mountford, chief executive of Devon County and chairman of Premier Division Bovey Tracey, admitted: 'This wonderful summer has just rubbed salt into the wounds.
'There is a lot of frustration and, when we were allowed to open up our nets at Bovey last week, people were desperate to book a spot and get there.'
Devon CCC and League officials have kept in close touch, before and after the English Cricket Board (ECB) announced the 'first-class' restart on August 1.
'I can't see club cricket starting before then, but once the first-class game does start, it's going to be difficult to stop everyone else,' said Mountford.
'I think we will have about a six-week window in which everyone will want to play as much as possible.'
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League games will carry points for added interest, but promotion and relegation has already been abandoned.
The Devon county side won't play any of its usual three-day championship games, but they do plan to fit in one-day matches against old rivals like Cornwall and Dorset, to minimise travelling.
The positioning of wicketkeeper and slips, who usually stand less than two meters apart, is one obvious 'risk-area', although adjustments are likely if it helps games to restart.
The authorities have already banned the use of saliva on the ball, but Mountford pointed out: 'The ball still has to be passed hand to hand, so umpires may carry antiseptic wipes or sprays to get round that problem.
'There is a lot of common sense around, and I am sure everyone will do everything they can to get at least some cricket played this summer.'