India series uncertain but ECB ring-fences £20m investment into women’s game


England women’s house series towards India is unsure because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but the ECB stays hopeful that will probably be doable for the tour to be accomplished at some stage this summer time.

India are as a result of play two T20Is and 4 ODIs in England, with the primary game of the tour scheduled for June 25, but with the variety of coronavirus-related deaths within the UK persevering with to rise at pace and a few type of social distancing measures seemingly nonetheless to be in place, it seems unlikely that the series might be performed as deliberate.

All skilled cricket within the UK has been postponed until May 28 at the earliest, although there’s a rising acceptance that the date might be pushed again. Contingency planning for video games scheduled from June onwards is ongoing, but for now, the ECB stays hopeful that fixtures after that date may be fulfilled in some type as doable.

The tour is because of end on July 9, and England’s subsequent engagement is towards South Africa on September 1, whereas India don’t have any confirmed fixtures after that series. As a outcome, it could be doable to discover a window for the fixtures in July or August as mandatory, notably if the inaugural season of the Hundred is shortened or pushed again to 2021.

Meanwhile, the ECB has ring-fenced the £20m it has pledged to invest in women’s and girls’ cricket over the following two years as a part of its 2019 motion plan, allaying fears that investment could be reduce because of the monetary impression of the pandemic.

ALSO READ: ECB announce funding boost to transform women’s cricket

A significant a part of that plan concerned the creation of eight semi-professional regional growth centres, with a 50-over competitors between the brand new groups as a result of begin in late August.

But the disaster has delayed the method of launching these centres, because the ECB re-evaluates the main points of the brand new home construction’s first full season. It stays unclear when and if will probably be doable to stage video games this summer time, and as such varied totally different eventualities are being modelled.

The preliminary monetary dedication of £20million over two years leaves some room for flexibility – it appears seemingly that the majority of that investment will happen in 2021 – but the intention to honour that pledge is a lift for the women’s game at a time of uncertainty.

“The ECB remains committed to the transforming women’s and girls’ cricket action plan, despite the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic,” an ECB spokesperson mentioned.

“In gentle of the present well being disaster we have to re-evaluate the logistics of the primary yr of the brand new elite home construction, each on the sphere and off the sphere – together with participant and employees recruitment, and fixture dates.

“We are at present collaborating carefully with our regional hosts and modelling a variety of other eventualities, together with a later begin to the season and a diminished season. Although it isn’t but on the agenda, a postponement of the primary yr of elite home construction fixtures can also be a situation which will want to come back into consideration.

“The board’s initial two-year investment into this long-term plan remains unaffected and close discussions with our regional hosts will continue as the situation becomes clearer.”

Last week, the England women’s squad announced that they have taken a pay cut for the following three months, in keeping with their coaches and assist employees.

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