The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has led to the postponement of several bilateral contests and other cricketing events across the world. Even the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) recently postponed its entire 2020 domestic and international home season until further notice as the entire United Kingdom (UK) continues to remain under lockdown. According to reports, the continuous impact of the coronavirus might well lead to either a compressed home season or an overall cancellation of events in England this year.
The England Test side toured Sri Lanka in March for a two-match Test series. However, the series was halted and the players were brought back to England amidst the rising coronavirus concerns. To avoid or minimise further damage to England’s upcoming international home summer schedule, limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan expressed his openness in staging two international fixtures on the same day if required.
While speaking in a conference call on April 1, Eoin Morgan said that he or “anyone else” for that matter, have never experienced such a situation before that could impact cricket both economically and financially. He added that in case of a compressed home season, the prospect of England fielding a Test and ODI playing XI in different venues on the same day could well be a “viable” option. Morgan also said that while players will be up for any opportunity to play cricket, the situation of even staging a curtailed season looks “uncertain” at the moment.
Incidentally, the Australian cricket team followed a similar route a few years ago due to a packed cricketing calendar. In 2017, Australia hosted Sri Lanka in a three-match T20I series between February 15 and February 22. In hindsight of the home series, Cricket Australia picked an entirely different squad for Australia’s Four-Test tour of India that commenced on February 23. While Aaron Finch led Australia to a 41-run win against Sri Lanka on February 22, a Steve Smith-led Australian Test side locked horns against India a day later at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune.
Prolific Test scorer Joe Root leads England in Tests while Eoin Morgan leads the pack in ODIs and T20Is. England’s international home season was originally slated to begin with a three-match Test series against West Indies on June 4, which would be followed by three T20Is and three ODIs against Australia in July. The Pakistan cricket team were then scheduled to tour England for three Tests and three T20Is between July 23 and September 2. The Three Lions’ home season would then be capped off with a short ODI series against the visiting Ireland team from September 10 to 15.