How has the Coronavirus pandemic impacted cricket?

By Riley Taylor

Featured Image credit: Airwolfhound via this Creative Commons License.

The coronavirus pandemic has affected the livelihoods of many people not only in the UK but around the world as they are resorted to being cooped up indoors under government advice in order to prevent the spread of the virus further.

Boredom has been hard to quash for most people and one aspect that has not helped with this is the majority of sports being cancelled or postponed due to the potential impact of the virus.

Like all other sports, cricket is in limbo in regard to whether the scheduled summer of fixtures will go ahead with a high probability of there being little to no cricket happening around the world this year.

England’s summer of fixtures versus Pakistan and West Indies are set to be postponed due to the Coronavirus outbreak. (Image Credit: Airwolfhound and is licensed under this Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.)

With money at the centre of how the game is run it is thought that the England Cricket Board (ECB) will prioritise its big earners if there is to be any cricket this year, with international fixtures, the T20 Blast and The Hundred thought to be the competitions to run.

The ECB’s turnover from the last cricketing summer was the highest since the 2014/15 season with over £172 million made, as the below infographic shows.

This profit was immediately invested into the controversial Hundred, with around £180 million invested into the format since its official announcement in 2018.

The T20 Blast has been the ECB’s biggest earner in regard to domestic cricket over the past six years, which means the ever-popular County Championship and One-Day Cup look set to be sidelined.

International cricket is where the ECB make the most of their money and after a summer of cricket in 2019 that saw the popularity of cricket rise astronomically, this summer was set to possibly be a big year.

England were set to play Pakistan and West Indies in two three-match Test series, but both of these have been postponed indefinitely rather than cancelled, in hope of a quick turnaround.

Essex were set to defend their County Championship title in Chelmsford (pictured) but this is looking increasingly unlikely to happen. (Image Credit: John Sutton licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence)

It is not just at the top level where cricket has been affected, club cricket has being seriously hindered with clubs not knowing if they will be playing this season.

The ECB released a statement in March that stated that “it is with sadness and reluctance that we recommend that all forms of recreational cricket are for now suspended.”

For some clubs, this could mean the prospect of a cricketless summer and thus a loss of funding which could see some clubs fold.

I spoke to Rich Poole, club captain of Dorset League club Broadstone Cricket Club about what this decision by the ECB has meant for their club.

Since the official suspension of the season in March, the ECB has announced a £61million support package for professional and recreational cricket as well as a further extended suspension of all professional cricket to at least July 1.

With lockdown announced for a further three weeks in the UK and social distancing measures set to be in force until December according to SAGE, it seems there will be no cricket for the foreseeable future which could spell the end for many cricket clubs across the country.

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