YORKSHIRE’S season has been delayed once again by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), who have agreed that no professional cricket will be played until at least Wednesday, July 1 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sport throughout the country has come to a standstill as a result of the pandemic, which has seen the country go into lockdown since March 23.

Yorkshire’s County Championship campaign was due to begin on April 12 with a home match against Gloucestershire at Emerald Headingley.

The pandemic put paid to that starting date though, with the season’s beginning “subject to ongoing advice from government and health experts”, said an ECB statement.

They added that there will be “continued consultation with all broadcast partners to determine the optimum way to fulfil fixtures both domestically and internationally.”

The ECB also announced several measures on the game’s various formats.

“Nine rounds of fixtures will be lost in the County Championship season, but blocks for red-ball cricket and white-ball cricket will be held in a revised schedule,” they said.

“The Vitality Blast will be pushed as late in the season as possible to give it the best opportunity of being staged.

“All matches previously scheduled in June will be moved later in the season.

“International cricket, featuring England men’s and women’s teams, will look to be scheduled from July until the end of September, with the West Indies Test series and the whole women’s series against India both moving from their original slots.

“An additional Board meeting will be scheduled next Wednesday on The Hundred, following a request to dedicate a further session to the competition.”

ECB chief executive officer, Tom Harrison, added: “Our role as a national governing body during a crisis of this scale requires us to carefully plan alongside cricket’s stakeholders and supporters to attempt to overcome COVID-19’s impact on this season.

“As much as we remain hopeful that we can deliver some cricket this summer, we are in the midst of a worldwide crisis and our priority – over and above the playing of professional sport – will be to protect the vulnerable, key workers and society as a whole.

“That’s why, simply put, there will be no cricket unless it’s safe to play. Our schedule will only go ahead if government guidance permits.

“Our biggest challenge, along with other sports, is how we could seek to implement a bio-secure solution that offers optimum safety and security for all concerned. The guidance we receive from Westminster will help us shape how we deliver this.

“Our plan is to reschedule international matches as late as possible in the season to give the best chance of play.

“The Vitality Blast will also now occupy the latest possible season slot to offer as much time as possible to play a County short-form competition.

“I want to thank everyone involved in this complex and sensitive work. There have clearly never been times like this and my colleagues at the ECB and across the game have been exemplary in this period.

“It has been refreshing, but not surprising to see how cricket has come together.”

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