England are supposed to play three Tests each against West Indies and Pakistan later this year(Getty Images)
England are supposed to play three Tests each against West Indies and Pakistan later this year(Getty Images)

Coronavirus substitute for England Tests? ECB, ICC in talks

The English summer could see the first-ever Coronavirus substitute, provided the two boards are able to work a way out.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By hindustantimes.com, edited by Aditya Bhattacharya
UPDATED ON MAY 30, 2020 01:56 PM IST

More variations could be seen implemented in cricket once the game resumes. After the ICC banned the use of saliva to shine the ball, the England and Wales Cricket Board is in talks with the ICC to allow a Coronavirus substitute for England’s home summer later this year, BBC has reported.

As per the current rules, for all injuries barring a concussion, a regular substitute can only field and has no duties to perform with bat or ball. However, during last year’s Ashes, Australia cricketer Marnus Labuschagne became the concussion substitute in Test cricket, when he batted in place of Steve Smith in the second innings of the Lord’s Test.

The English summer, which comprises Test series against West Indies and Pakistan, could see the first-ever Coronavirus substitute, provided the two boards are able to work a way out. “There are still some considerations from an ICC perspective about a Covid-19 replacement. That still needs to be agreed. I would hope that would be in place well before the Test series starts in July,” ECB director of events Steve Elworthy said.

With all cricket in the UK suspended till July 1 due to the Coronavirus, it is unknown what the future holds for English cricket. West Indies were to play England three Tests beginning July 1, and even though both boards have shown interest in the series going ahead as planned, there is no surety due to the pandemic. A proposal of playing behind closed doors, in a bio-secure environment, has been made, and although the ECB says it is open to the idea, a nod from the government is needed.

“From a planning point of view, we have got everything in place,” said Elworthy. “We’re ready for it, but clearly we don’t want to stray outside of government guidelines and government decision-making.”

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