Coronavirus outbreak: County cricket latest

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The COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic has led to the start of the English season being put back until at least July 1, and left many counties facing a potentially damaging shortfall in finances. Most are expected to take advantage of the government’s coronavirus job retention scheme. How has your club responded to the situation? Here we will keep track of ongoing developments.


Players and the majority of non-playing staff have been furloughed. “We have a highly-valued network of staff across the club and this programme will allow us to protect jobs and plan for long-term sustainability,” said chief executive Ryan Duckett.

“We will continue to proactively prepare for a return to cricket once it is safe to do so and I would like to thank all players, staff, supporters and stakeholders for their ongoing support and understanding.”

Australia pair Sean Abbott and Ben McDermott will not now be contracted for 2020, with their signings deferred by a year.

Head coach Dave Houghton is currently with his family in Zimbabwe.


Players and staff have been placed on furlough, though the club will top up salaries to ensure everyone receives full pay.

CEO Tim Bostock thinks that bigger counties are more likely to suffer significantly as a result of the crisis due to the fact a lower percentage of their income comes from the ECB, with events, conferences and hotels all contributing significantly in a typical year.

“They’ve got businesses that rely on income outside of ECB regular monthly funding – particularly I can think of Lancashire, Warwickshire and Yorkshire, the Ageas Bowl,” Bostock told talkSPORT. “They’ve done the right thing, they’ve diversified so that they can survive without ECB income, but what that has meant is… that has fallen off the edge of a cliff through no fault of their own. That is a major challenge.

“A club like Durham – a larger percentage of our income comes from the guaranteed ECB income as a result of the new television deal, and therefore we are much less exposed. I can confidently say that what’s coming in is more than what’s going out.”

Bostock told the Daily Mail it was unlikely that Cameron Bancroft would join the club this year, but said that he would be given “first option” as their overseas player in 2021.


The club’s playing staff and the majority of non-playing staff have been placed on furlough leave “until further notice”. Chief executive Derek Bowden said: “By utilising the coronavirus job retention scheme, we are able to preserve and protect jobs at The Cloudfm County Ground during a financially damaging period.”

The signing of Australia seamer Peter Siddle, who was due back at Chelmsford for a third season running, has also been deferred until 2021.

Alastair Cook has said that he would prefer there not to be a County Championship this season if the alternative is a less “meaningful” reduced campaign. Bowden has suggested a series of regional first-class competitions could be played instead.

Players have been proactive in supporting the NHS, preparing thousands of hot meals for staff across hospitals in Essex and London, and releasing a charity music video.


Players, coaches, and the majority of staff have been placed on furlough leave at least until the end of May, and senior staff have taken a 25% pay cut.

Chief executive Hugh Morris said: “This is not a decision that the club have taken lightly, but it’s a necessary one to help preserve the jobs of all the staff at Glamorgan. We are incredibly grateful to all members of staff for recognising the challenges to the finances of the club and willingly engaging in the measures taken to help protect the future of Glamorgan.”

Marnus Labuschagne said he was “very disappointed that I can’t be over there playing for Glamorgan”, but his deal is yet to be officially cancelled.


Cheteshwar Pujara’s stint at the club is off following the delay to the start of the season, while Qais Ahmad and AJ Tye’s deals have also been cancelled.

The club confirmed in a statement that it had “significantly reduced the number of staff and players actively working” and that “sizeable savings” for April and May had been made.

“Our financial projections show that, even on the worst case scenario of no cricket at all this season, the club should be able to break even this year and be ready to face the future in a strong financial position when this crisis has passed,” the statement said.


The signing of Australia spinner Nathan Lyon for the majority of the Championship campaign has been shelved, although Hampshire hope to still have Shaheen Afridi for the Vitality Blast.

“There’s a lot of unknowns around Pakistan touring and he’s obviously an integral part of their setup,” director of cricket, Giles White, said. “So, we’ll just have to see what the tournament looks like and the positioning in the calendar before we can see whether it’s possible to have him with us.”


Playing staff have been placed on furlough leave, effective from April 9, with the situation to be reviewed regularly from the start of May. Non-playing staff were furloughed on April 6. Players’ salaries will not be topped up by the club. Captain Sam Billings remains non-furloughed to support the club’s efforts in the community, but has taken a temporary 20% pay cut in line with the rest of the squad.

Director of cricket Paul Downton said: “This outcome has not been reached lightly and I want to thank all of our players who are standing shoulder to shoulder with their colleagues during the pandemic. We will continue to monitor this situation closely.”

Executive directors have voluntarily agreed to a short-term pay cut of 20% and are in talks with local council to discuss terms of a loan repayment, among other measures.

“We feel these are exceptional circumstances,” chief executive Simon Storey told ESPNcricinfo. “We will find a way through this for Kent.”

New Zealand seamer Matt Henry’s contract with the club has been terminated.


The club confirmed on April 7 that it does not intend to furlough playing staff. “None of [the club’s training regime] would be available to the players if they were to be furloughed, and it is our intention not to do so, whilst keeping the situation under review,” said Paul Allott, the director of cricket.

“Ultimately, we have to ensure they are as ready as they can be for a cricket season to commence and we will continue to work towards that objective over the coming weeks and months. All of the measures that the club is adopting and implementing are fully endorsed and appreciated by the PCA.”

However, deals for overseas players BJ Watling, Glenn Maxwell and James Faulkner have been cancelled for 2020.

Chief executive Daniel Gidney has issued a statement to members, signalling his intention to keep hold of staff where possible.

“We’re carrying that large staff payroll – when the turnover drops off like that and the phone just stops ringing, that has a catastrophic short-term effect on any organisation,” Gidney said. “We have some difficult measures to make, we have some cost-cutting to do, but we’re doing everything we can to protect our biggest asset which is our staff.”

Chairman David Hodgkiss has died aged 71 after contracting the virus. A club statement said: “He was much loved by everyone at Lancashire Cricket Club and respected throughout the cricketing world. Our sincere condolences and thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

The club will offer 5000 tickets for a T20 Blast game to NHS staff as “a gesture of support for their ongoing heroic efforts”.


The majority of the club’s staff, including players and coaches, have been placed on furlough leave for an initial three-week period until the end of April. “This has not been an easy decision to make, but I would like to thank all of our staff who have worked incredibly hard and acted professionally to perform their roles during a period of such uncertainty,” said chair Mehmooda Duke.


All of the club’s players, and the majority of coaches, admin and support staff, have been furloughed until further notice. Those with salaries above £27,500 have also agreed to take a 17% pay cut, initially until the end of May. Senior management have agreed 20% pay cuts.

“We are operating in unprecedented times,” chief executive, Richard Goatley, said. “We have to make difficult decisions that not only protect the future of Middlesex Cricket but the jobs of our employees.

“For all staff to agree voluntarily to a significant salary reduction for the next two months is testament to how invested they are in Middlesex Cricket and committed to helping the Club through this crisis. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone across the Club for their understanding in these difficult times.”

Peter Handscomb, who was due to captain the side, admitted his contract is “on hold”. Head coach Stuart Law is in the UK.


Northants’ professional playing and support staff have been furloughed with players agreeing to take a pay cut consistent with other non-playing staff at the club. The agreement will initially run through April and May, with the situation being monitored during that time.

Chief Executive Ray Payne said: “We see this as a positive move that will help ensure longevity across the club in these unprecedented times. One thing that has always been at the forefront of our minds has been a ‘one club’ approach and thankfully everyone at the club has shared the vision of being in this together.

“It is going to hit us hard but we can survive this. Had this been five years ago we wouldn’t have got through it. But since then we’ve managed our debt, we’ve got a good business model for a small club and I think in terms of the ECB looking at all the counties, we’re probably one of the few they’re not too worried about.”

Alex Wakely‘s benefit year was pushed back to 2021. “We’d put a lot of work into it and most of my events were ready to go and we were in a really good place,” he told the Independent. “But ultimately regardless of anything, I wouldn’t have felt comfortable doing it.”


Dane Paterson’s attempts to join the club as a Kolpak player have been put on hold by the pandemic.

The club has been active in supporting the local community, including helping provide hot meals to homeless, sheltered and vulnerable individuals and providing memorabilia donations to raise money for a Nottingham charitable fundraiser.


67 of the club’s 76 employees have been furloughed.

Chief executive Gordon Hollins said: “By taking advantage of the government’s coronavirus job retention scheme, we are able to preserve jobs at the Cooper Associates County Ground during such a difficult financial period for the club. It also ensures that we will be in a strong position to face the opportunities and challenges that will lie ahead once we have overcome this pandemic.”

Vernon Philander’s two-year Kolpak contract has been cancelled.


Australian seamer Michael Neser’s overseas contract has been cancelled, while D’Arcy Short and Shadab Khan will no longer join the club either.

Players have not been furloughed. Work is continuing on the redevelopment project at The Oval.

Head coach Michael di Venuto and seamer Morne Morkel are currently in Australia, Hashim Amla and Dan Moriarty are in South Africa, and Nico Reifer is in Barbados. “if and when we get the thumbs up to start playing cricket, we’ll get them back over here,” Alec Stewart, director of cricket, told a members’ forum.


The club has furloughed the majority of its non-playing staff, plus all players and coaches. Chief executive Rob Andrew said: “The board of Sussex Cricket, with the support of the executive leadership team, are making decisions in the best interests of everyone’s health and in order to protect everyone’s jobs when we do return to normality.”

Head coach Jason Gillespie is currently in Australia with his family. David Wiese and Stiaan van Zyl are in South Africa.


Playing and non-playing staff have been furloughed, with the club guaranteeing 100% of players’ salaries. Edgbaston will become a coronavirus testing centre for NHS staff.

“We’re all in the firing line,” Paul Farbrace, sport director, told ESPNcricinfo. “I genuinely worry about the state of the game, and whether we can build on what was a fantastic year for English cricket.”


Playing and non-playing staff furloughed with the club offering players a guaranteed 90% of their wages.

A club statement on April 6 said that provisional work had indicated the crisis could have a cost of over £1.1m, “which for a club that in 2019 made a statutory loss of £89.3k and has £4.3 million of debt is substantial”.

Chairman Fanos Hira told BBC Hereford and Worcester that the club’s “lean structure” will be helpful during the crisis. “We’re the only county that doesn’t have a six-figure paid CEO,” he said. “We don’t have a director of cricket either, probably on similar pay, so we are a lean structure.

“In the past where it has probably been disadvantageous to counties with non-Test match grounds, now we’re not reliant on the vast amounts of hospitality income or big functions that occur in these vast venues. So, in many respects, although the impact on us is great, for many other counties with higher fixed costs that impact could be a lot greater. Perhaps it’s an advantage to us during this period of enormous uncertainty.”


Playing and coaching staff have been placed on furlough leave, and have been asked to take wage cuts of up to 20% from June 1.

“What you have to remember is that we have got absolutely no income coming in whatsoever aside from a little bit through the online shop. But monies are still going out,” said chief executive Mark Arthur.

“We’ve reduced our overheads as best we can, with the final part of that being these salary deductions. Combined with the furlough scheme, it does mean we are not haemorrhaging day-to-day cash.”

R Ashwin, Keshav Maharaj and Nicholas Pooran’s contracts have been cancelled.