MX23RW : Saturday, May 23 06:26:34| >> :600:4909231:4909231:

ECB considers behind-closed-doors matches with coronavirus checkpoints

There will be no professional cricket until May 28 at the earliest.

The England and Wales Cricket Board has indicated it could install coronavirus checkpoints and isolation units at grounds this summer in order to resume the game behind closed doors.

The ECB has acknowledged there will be no professional cricket until May 28 at the earliest, but it is stepping up its planning for a potential resumption of international action with no spectators.

The ECB's director of events Steve Elworthy told the Guardian that such an eventuality would essentially require a sterile bubble to ensure the identification of anyone in the vicinity who was carrying the virus.

England v Australia – Second Test – Day Five – 2019 Ashes Series – Lord's
Cricket may return in a sterile bubble, according to the ECB (John Walton/PA)

"We're mapping out what international matches would look like behind closed doors," Elworthy told the Guardian.

Alluding to the government's initial advice prior to the current lockdown, he added: "The advice around mass gatherings was 500 people or fewer.

"That was guided by the potential impact on critical services like paramedics and doctors.

"You would likely have to work within that number [which would be made up of essential matchday staff]... then you have to think about medical provisions, creating a safe and sterile environment around that venue, so that everyone who comes in is clear.

"So it's how you test them at the gate, the isolation units that you have to put in. These are considerations we are thinking about."

But former England captain Michael Vaughan questioned the logic of extending behind-closed-doors cricket to domestic competitions such as The Hundred.

Michael Vaughan
Michael Vaughan has questioned the wisdom of playing The Hundred behind closed doors (Aaron Chown/PA)

Vaughan wrote in his column in the Telegraph: "The Hundred has been designed to bring in a new audience and if you are playing it behind closed doors, does that not defeat the point of it?

"Clearly, delaying it 12 months would involve giving money back to Sky and the BBC. Perhaps the gap could be filled by showing the Blast instead (again assuming we can play cricket at all).

"Or has the ECB spent so much money on The Hundred and run down its reserves, it just has to play it regardless? My guess is that is the case."

Latest coronavirus PSA banner

Coronavirus outbreak - Click here for more stories

Share this article now:
England celebrate winning the Ashes in 2005
Read Next:
Coronavirus: ICC opens up vault of memorable matches to help fill cricket void
Latest Sports Video
Did you know...?

rhs 2.0

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!