Former England captain Nasser Hussain believes it is viable for the English professional cricket season to be extended through to late October this year.
The ECB announced last week that no professional cricket is to be played in England and Wales before May 28, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The body have begun modelling plans for starting the season in June, July or August.
Writing in his column for the Daily Mail, Hussain argued that it could be worth extending the season beyond September instead of overloading the calendar if and when the action returns, citing the factor of players’ workloads.
“There would be problems with dew, early bad light and things like that but I’d rather that [playing until late October] than over-crowding the calendar when cricket starts again to try to cram everything in,” Hussain said.
“People might say cricketers would have had months off by then, but they’re not machines. If you suddenly had them rushing up and down motorways when normality resumes playing every day it will lead to injuries and other problems.
“They are elite athletes and will still need looking after. There’s a duty of care to the players but there’s no reason why we shouldn’t play on as late in the year as possible.”
Hussain also backed the ECB’s decision to prioritise international cricket, the T20 Blast and The Hundred in its scheduling for a truncated season to offer greater financial protection to the 18 first-class counties.
“If and when cricket does come back this year, it has to prioritise the most popular and lucrative forms of the game, whether that’s internationals, Twenty20 Blast or the Hundred, because the game is not well enough off to do anything else,” Hussain added.
“If that means the County Championship is put on the back burner, so be it. There will just need to be common sense decisions made to get as much cricket in as possible and to play as late as possible in the summer and even early autumn.”