The Government has finally released details on how the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme would work. I do believe that Rishi Sunak is the right choice for the chancellor and the actions taken by him is unprecedented not only for the country as a whole but for the Tory party too. We finally have someone who can talk the language of investors while making the common people understand the proposals too. There are gaps in the system though I hope that these will be addressed. The first and probably those that have lost out the most are the people who served their notice before or shortly after February 28th but have not joined their new firm or spent sufficient time in their new place of employment to have them kept on their payroll. The second is self-employed people whose business has been running for less than two years and then there are those that freelance. I hope something will be done to address these issues.
Places like India have two seasons where cricket can be played. It is the monsoon season which lasts between June and August where you cannot play cricket. The opposite is true in England where Cricket can be played between May and August. It is anyone’s guess whether games in April and September will have all four days played or most of the four days washed out. There are 12 days to when the County season was due to start but the ECB has announced that there will be no cricket until May 28th. I am not confident that we will get a significant amount of County Cricket after that especially due to the cancellation of Wimbledon and calls for the Premier League to be cancelled. The way ECB reacts to this pandemic will clearly show where their priorities lie.
I am not privy to the salaries or employment terms between the counties and their players or those taking part in The Hundred. The daily mail reported that county cricket players will be asked to take a pay cut while The Hundred players will be paid a monthly salary but the Telegraph states that this would not happen. Either way, the income of players will get affected the question is to what extent. The salaries of players seem to range from £30,000 to £80,000 where people have calculated that players on the lower end of the spectrum get less than the minimum wage when training and travelling time is included. I strongly believe that the companies that are laying off people now are being completely idiotic and will suffer in the long term. I would not want to see the same happen to the domestic game here where talented players have to resort to normal jobs just to make ends meet as we would lose all the progress that has been made since 1963 when the line between amateur and professional cricketers was removed.
We are going through an unprecedented time and someone should either bear the cost of the loss of games. The articles County Cricket Matters by Andy Nash who is the former ECB Director gives an insight into the finances of the counties and the deal between The ECB and its broadcasting partners. In England, the domestic games should be the yardstick by which a player makes it into the international side therefore anything that hinders this should be shelved until it is economically viable to do so. If this requires the shelving of The Hundred then let it be so. It is more important to provide a lifeline to formats that already exist than to something where the results are unknown and the data which prompted the decision of the creation and structure of The Hundred has not been made available to the public. I believe that the buck should stop with Sky Sports as they are not refunding their customers for the lack of live games while looking to charge the ECB for not keeping their end of the bargain by playing an agreed number of games. Quality cricket across the county championships. One Day Cricket and The Blast is what will save the game and continue to keep an interest in it rather than a new format. Supporters of English cricket, as well as potential new ones, can only be retained or found if the current players and quality of cricket is maintained. I sincerely hope for the health of cricket that the counties and ECB do not make the same mistakes that businesses all over the world are doing otherwise the biggest victim of Covid19 may end up being County Cricket.