Coronavirus wrap: Domestic cricket back in August while Frittelli tests positive

PA Sport Staff
PA Media: Sport

Plans for a shortened domestic cricket season will be drawn up after the England and Wales Cricket Board gave the green light for play to resume from August 1 while Dylan Frittelli became the latest golfer to withdraw from a PGA Tour event on Monday.

The 18 first-class counties will now hold meetings to discuss which formats will be played, with only the inaugural edition of The Hundred scrapped from the 2020 calendar so far.

County cricket has been on hold since April because of the coronavirus pandemic, but England will return to action with three Tests against the West Indies in July at the ‘bio-secure’ venues of the Ageas Bowl and Old Trafford.

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Health and safety remains the prime concern for the ECB, which has approved the return to training of first-class county players on or before July 1, while a dedicated working group has been formed to focus specifically on domestic details in the midst of a public health crisis.

“It is a significant step for our game that we are able to approve the start of the men’s domestic season for August 1 and one which will be welcomed by everyone connected with county cricket,” ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said.

“It follows extensive consultation between the 18 first-class counties, the Professionals Cricketers’ Association and ECB and has only been achievable thanks to the significant hard work that continues to occur as we prepare for a domestic season unlike any the game has faced before.

“It must be stressed that the safety of our players, staff and officials has been the first priority through all discussions and Government guidance will continue to shape our planning and preparation.”

Surrey and Lancashire are the only two counties that have not furloughed any playing staff in recent months, and they are set to return to action towards the end of next month with two-day friendlies against Middlesex and Yorkshire respectively.

PCA chairman Daryl Mitchell said any players with any hesitation in coming back are set to be given a chance to opt out.

Mitchell said: “The health of our membership remains our number one priority and no player should be required to return to work if they do not feel comfortable due to any underlying health issues or other factors such as living with vulnerable people.

“We have pushed for an ‘opt in’ process with ECB and the counties so players can totally understand the protocols in place to mitigate risks and those who are not yet able to return feel comfortable in not opting in.”

Harrison added that planning for the return of the women’s domestic game was “ongoing”.

Frittelli, meanwhile, has become the latest golf player to test positive for coronavirus and will miss the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit.

In a statement on the PGA Tour’s official website, Frittelli said: “I am experiencing no issues and feel great physically and was surprised and disappointed to learn of the positive test today.

“I’m thankful for the WHOOP strap notification of a minor increase in my respiratory rate overnight.

“However, I’m most thankful for the tour’s assistance, procedures and protocols, which I will continue to follow during my self-isolation, so as to keep everyone safe.”

Nick Watney was the first player to test positive for Covid-19 following his opening round at the RBC Heritage earlier this month before several players pulled out of last week’s Travelers Championship.

Elite athletes in Scotland have been granted permission to resume indoor and contact training under safety protocols.

The step towards normality has been approved by the Scottish Government as part of its route map out of the coronavirus lockdown.

Sportscotland has published guidance for a range of sports following the easing of restrictions on training for performance and professional athletes, coaches and support staff.

The details follow news that Scottish Premiership football clubs were granted approval to resume contact training from Monday.

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