The coronavirus pandemic has raged chaos all over the globe with major cricketing events cancelled or postponed to contain the spread of the deadly virus. The UK lockdown has resulted in England's bilateral series against Sri Lanka and West Indies postponed, while the series against Pakistan also hangs in the balance. The much-awaited The Hundred was also postponed to next year, painting a gloomy cricketing picture with the England Cricket Board staring at massive financial losses during the UK lockdown.
In a report by Cricbuzz, ECB's Managing Director of Women's Cricket Clare Connor believes international men's fixtures may be prioritised over England women's matches this year in a bid to secure the long-term future of the sport in the country. A recent report by ECB CEO Tom Harrison suggests that England cricket would lose at least £100 million due to the postponement of events amidst the UK lockdown. The report further added that the losses would increase to £380 million if no cricket is possible this year.
Connor said that women's cricket will have to be co-operative and chances are that their scheduled matches against India and South Africa might not take place this season. The former England cricketer added that if men's cricket is prioritised, it would help reduce the £380 million hole and would eventually benefit the long-term ambitions of women's cricket in England and Wales.
Clare Connor says that no international women's cricket would be disappointing but says that one cannot argue with the financial rationale. Connor mentioned the £20 million action plan announced last year aimed at developing a gender-balanced game for women's and girl's cricket. While England women's centrally contracted players have taken a deliberate 10% salary cut, they still have the financial protection of their ECB deal.
The immediate future for many other domestic players is more uncertain due to the season being postponed amidst the UK lockdown. The Hundred being postponed to next summer has further consumed the money players earn outside those with central contracts from cricket this year. While the situation of England women's cricket looks uncertain with all the financial difficulties, Connor remains positive and said that the ECB are planning a retainer system while are hopeful of awarding those 40 central contracts this year.