In wake of the coronavirus crisis across the United Kingdom (UK), the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) are struggling to host their already-delayed domestic and international home season in the country. Only quite recently, Abu Dhabi Cricket offered their facilities to England Cricket for hosting matches between October 2020 and January 2021. After Abu Dhabi, Dubai has now emerged as the latest overseas venue to offer their facilities to the ECB for hosting the 2020 England cricketing season.
On April 24, ECB CEO Tom Harrison had confirmed they have been receiving hosting offers from Cricket Australia and New Zealand Cricket in order to salvage the 2020 England home season, which is most likely to be called off. Among all offers England has been receiving, Dubai became the latest cricketing city to throw their hat in the middle. The head of cricket at Dubai Sports City, Salman Hanif recently told The National that their country is keen to host England county and international matches and have the facilities rounded-up to do so.
According to recent medical statistics from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the country seems to have seen the worse of the coronavirus pandemic with 89 reported deaths. After strict curfews, the travel restrictions are beginning to lift while places like malls are starting to open up across the country slowly. Improving conditions across the UAE puts both Abu Dhabi and Dubai as favourites to host the England cricketing season, should the ECB decide to stage their 2020 affairs at an overseas location.
However, the ECB has been repeatedly stating their intention of hosting their summer cricket in England and Wales itself. Tom Harrison even recently said that the board is considering the idea of hosting all matches behind closed doors if needed. Additionally, Surrey Cricket Chairman Richard Thompson said that travelling costs should be considered while handing out their home season to an overseas venue.
The pandemic forced the ECB to suspend their home summer till July 1 at the earliest. Apart from England’s international fixtures and their County Championship, their home season also include the much-awaited 100-ball tournament The Hundred. The Hundred is currently slated to launch in July, but the tournament is clouded with much uncertainty at the moment.