Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cricket

Last updated

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruption to cricket across the world, mirroring its impact across all sports. Across the world and to varying degrees, leagues and competitions have been cancelled or postponed. [1]

Contents

International

Tournaments

In July 2020, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced that both the 2020 and 2021 editions of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup had each been postponed by one year due to the pandemic. [2] Therefore, the 2020 tournament was moved to November 2021, and the 2021 tournament was moved to October 2022. [3] The 2023 Cricket World Cup was also rescheduled to take place eight months later than planned, with the tournament moved to October and November 2023. [4] Australia and India retained the rights to host the tournaments, [5] with the ICC announcing on 8 August that India will host the 2021 tournament, and Australia will host the 2022 tournament. [6]

Also on 8 August, the ICC confirmed that the 2021 Women's Cricket World Cup and the tournament's qualifier had each been postponed by one year due to the pandemic. [7] [8]

Rankings

In May 2021, five teams dropped off the ICC T20I Championship rankings due to failing to play enough fixtures to qualify in the relevant period. [9]

Africa

The coronavirus pandemic impacted on several international cricket fixtures and tournaments. The 2020 ACA Africa T20 Cup Finals was scheduled to take place in Kenya in March 2020, before it was postponed in line with the Kenyan government's 30-day ban on international gatherings. [10] [11] On 13 March 2020, the Netherlands tour to Namibia was cancelled due to the pandemic. [12] Three days later, Ireland's tour to Zimbabwe also got cancelled. [13] [14] On 24 March, Namibia tri-series was postponed. [15]

On 11 June 2020, the ICC confirmed that the Cricket World Cup Challenge League (B) has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. [16] [17] The following month, the ICC also confirmed that the Namibia Tri-Nation Series, scheduled to take place in September 2020, had also been postponed. [18] [19]

In August 2020, Afghanistan's tour to Zimbabwe was called off, following an increase of COVID-19 cases in Zimbabwe. [20] [21] Later the same month, the Netherlands' tour to Zimbabwe was also called off, [22] [23] along with Pakistan's planned tour to South Africa. [24] In December 2020, England's ODI matches against South Africa were postponed following a COVID-19 outbreak. [25]

In December 2020, the first match of South Africa vs England (under South Africa's ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Super League series) was initially postponed (later on cancelled) after two players of England Cricket Team tested positive for COVID-19 and also found breaching codes of bio-secure environment. [26]

In early February 2021, Australian men announced that they would postpone their upcoming Tour of South Africa because of the unacceptable risk of contracting COVID-19 whilst on Tour, along with difficulty in repatriating any Tour party members were some to contract the disease. [27]

Asia

The 2020 Everest Premier League in Nepal was also postponed on 12 March. [28] On 13 March, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced that the start of 2020 Indian Premier League will be postponed from 29 March to 15 April. [29] On 16 April, BCCI suspended the tournament indefinitely due to the pandemic and on 4 June BCCI announced that IPL will staged outside India. [30] On 13 March, BCCI cancelled the ODI matches between India and South Africa on 15 and 18 March, which were originally announced to be played without spectators. [31] On the same day, the two-match Test series between Sri Lanka and England, scheduled to be played in March 2020, was also postponed. [32] The remaining seven matches of the 2020 Road Safety World Series were rescheduled to a later date. [33] It was earlier decided that the remaining seven matches of the tournament would be played behind the closed doors in DY Patil Stadium. [34]

A women's quadrangular series was scheduled to take place in Thailand in April 2020, [35] but was cancelled a month before it was due to start. [36] The 2020 Malaysia Cricket World Cup Challenge League A, scheduled to take place in March 2020, was postponed, [37] along with two T20I matches between a World XI and Asia XI side. [38]

On 12 March, the Pakistan Cricket Board announced that all remaining matches of the Pakistan Super League's ongoing fifth season being played in Karachi (where the majority of cases in Pakistan had been concentrated) would be closed to spectators. [39] [40] On 16 March 2020, the remaining play-offs in the 2020 Pakistan Super League were postponed due to a huge spike in the number of coronavirus cases around the country. [41] The Bangladesh tour of Pakistan for a single ODI and a Test match was also postponed. [42] On 24 March 2020, the International Cricket Council (ICC) confirmed that all ICC qualifying events scheduled to take place before 30 June 2020 had been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This included 2020–21 ICC Men's T20 World Cup Asia Qualifier for Western and Eastern sub-regions. [43]

On 9 April 2020, there was an announcement of postponement of Australia-Bangladesh Test series. [44] On 20 April 2020, Sri Lanka and South Africa cricket boards confirmed that SA tour to the island nation has been postponed. [45]

On 23 June 2020, New Zealand cricket team's tour to Bangladesh, which was scheduled to take place in August, was postponed. [46] A day later, on 24 June 2020, the Bangladesh's tour to Sri Lanka was postponed due to the pandemic. [47]

On 9 July 2020, the 2020 Asia Cup was postponed until the following July, [48] with the 2020 Asia Cup Qualifier tournament cancelled. [49] On 25 August 2020, the ICC confirmed that the 2020 Malaysia Cricket World Cup Challenge League A tournament had been postponed due to the pandemic. [50] The following month, it was confirmed that the 2020 edition of the Women's Asia Cup, scheduled to take place in September in Bangladesh, [51] had also been cancelled due to the pandemic. [52] On 28 September 2020, Bangladesh's planned tour to Sri Lanka was postponed for a second time, after both cricket boards could not agree on the quarantine requirements. [53]

In October 2020, the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) confirmed that there would be no edition of the Bangladesh Premier League in 2020, due to the pandemic. [54] In January 2021, the Ireland cricket team were scheduled to play four ODIs against the UAE. However, a COVID-19 outbreak in the UAE team meant that the tour schedule was changed multiple times, resulting in only two of the four matches being played. [55]

In India, the 2020–21 Ranji Trophy tournament was cancelled due to the pandemic, [56] the first time since the tournament's inception in the 1934–35 season that the Ranji Trophy was not held. [57] On 5 May 2021, the 2021 Indian Premier League was suspended indefinitely, after a rise in COVID-19 cases. [58] [59] It is scheduled to play the remainder of its games from September 19 to October 15, 2021, in the UAE. [60] [61]

In Pakistan, the 2021 Pakistan Super League was postponed from March-April to 1st June. They were hosted in United Arab Emirates due to growing cases of the COVID-19 pandemic. The winner surprisingly became Multan Sultans (They were below the table for the entire time. Until the tournament postponed and hosted again on 1st June.)

Europe

On 11 March 2020, English teams Worcestershire and Surrey both cancelled their pre-season warm-up tours to the United Arab Emirates. [62] The following day, Australia Women's tour to South Africa in March 2020 became the first major international series to be curtailed due to the pandemic. [63] On 21 March 2020, announcement was made for postponement of Bangladesh's summer tour to Ireland. [64] [65] Teams from Austria, Luxembourg and Romania were to tour Belgium for their T20 international series in April and May. All the three series got cancelled. [66] [67] [68]

On 21 April 2020, the Dutch government banned all public events in the country through August, requiring the postponement of tours of the Netherlands by New Zealand, Pakistan and the West Indies. A quadrangular series to by played in Netherlands in June was also postponed. [69] [70]

On 5 May 2020, Tom Harrison, chief of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), told the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee that the ECB could lose as much as £380 million if the entirety of the season were to be cancelled, and hoped that investments in the upcoming limited overs competition The Hundred could be a "profit centre" for the ECB. [71]

Australia were originally scheduled to tour England in July 2020 to play three One Day International (ODI) and three Twenty20 International (T20I) matches. Due to pandemic, in May 2020, it was suggested that the dates for the series were moved back to September. [72] The New Zealand tour of Ireland was postponed on 15 May 2020 due to the pandemic. At the same time Pakistan's tour was also called-off. [73] [74]

On 1 June 2020, the Professional Cricketers' Association confirmed that county cricketers will continue to take pay cuts of up to 20 per cent for the months of June and July. [75] On 10 June 2020, the International Cricket Council (ICC) confirmed that the Scotland tri-series, also involving Nepal and Namibia has been postponed due to the pandemic. [76] Australia were supposed to tour Scotland for a solitary T20I. However, on 17 June 2020, Cricket Scotland confirmed that the match had been cancelled. [77]

In August 2020, South Africa women's planned tour to England was cancelled. [78] In November 2020, Ireland and Scotland women's planned tour to Spain was postponed, after Scotland withdrew. [79] [80] In September 2020, the seventh edition of the Central Europe Cup in Prague was one of several annual associate member tournaments to be cancelled. [81] [82]

In November 2020, the planned Cricket World Cup Super League fixtures between the Netherlands and England was postponed. [83] The series was originally scheduled to be played in May 2021, but it was moved to May 2022 due to the pandemic. [84]

North America

On 13 March 2020, the 2020 United States Tri-Nation Series was postponed due to the pandemic and travel restrictions to the United States. The tri-series also involved Scotland and the UAE. [85] [86] The 2019–20 West Indies Championship was suspended due to the pandemic and Barbados was declared the champion on 24 March. [87]

The men's and women's Central American Cricket Championship were scheduled for April and May 2020 respectively. On 1 April, both tournaments were cancelled as a result of the pandemic. [88] Additionally, Minor League Cricket was postponed from a 2020 to 2021 launch. [89]

New Zealand's tour of the West Indies [90] [91] and South Africa's tour of the West Indies [92] [93] were both postponed, after the West Indies tour to England was rescheduled.

South America

On 23 March, the T20I series between Brazil women's team and Argentina women's team was postponed. [94] The 2020 South American Cricket Championship were also cancelled after being postponed from October 2020. [95]

Oceania

On 14 March 2020, the remaining two One Day International (ODI) matches of the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy along with the three-match Twenty20 International (T20I) series between Australia and New Zealand were cancelled due to new border restrictions imposed by the New Zealand government. [96] The first ODI match of the series had been played on 13 March behind closed doors in Sydney. [97] The following day, Cricket Australia confirmed that the final round of matches in the 2019–20 Sheffield Shield season had been cancelled, with New South Wales being named as the winners of the tournament. [98] New Zealand Cricket cancelled the final two rounds of matches in the 2019–20 Plunket Shield season, [99] with Wellington being named the winners of the tournament. [100] On 24 March 2020, the ICC confirmed that all ICC qualifying events, across all regions, scheduled to take place before 30 June 2020 had been postponed due to the pandemic. This included tri-series in PNG, including PNG, Nepal and UAE. [43]

On 30 June 2020, Zimbabwe's ODI tour to Australia was postponed. [101] [102] On 4 August 2020, the West Indies T20I tour to Australia was also postponed. [103] [104] On 25 September 2020, Cricket Australia confirmed that the one-off Test match against Afghanistan, and the limited-overs series against New Zealand had both been postponed due to the pandemic. [105]

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The 2022 Men's ICC T20 World Cup is scheduled to be the eighth ICC Men's T20 World Cup tournament, scheduled to be played in October and November 2022 in Australia. Originally, the tournament was to be held in 2020, however, in July 2020, the International Cricket Council (ICC) confirmed that the tournament had been postponed, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In August 2020, the ICC confirmed that Australia would host the rearranged tournament in 2022, with the T20 World Cup scheduled to take place in India in 2021 to take place as originally planned.

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The 2020 international cricket season took place from May to September 2020. 15 Test matches, 49 One Day Internationals (ODIs) and 40 Twenty20 International (T20Is) were scheduled to be played during this period, as well as 8 Women's One Day Internationals (WODIs) and 9 Women's Twenty20 Internationals (WT20Is). Additionally, a number of other T20I/WT20I matches were also scheduled to be played in minor series involving associate nations. The season started with Australia leading the Test cricket rankings, England leading the ODI rankings and Australia leading the Twenty20 rankings.

The 2020–21 international cricket season took place from September 2020 to April 2021. 29 Tests, 49 One Day Internationals (ODIs), 50 Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is), 17 Women's One Day Internationals (WODIs) and 21 Women's Twenty20 Internationals (WT20Is) were scheduled to be played during this period. Additionally, a number of other T20I/WT20I matches were also scheduled to be played in minor series involving associate nations.

The Australia women's cricket team were scheduled to play the South Africa women's cricket team in March and April 2020. The tour was scheduled to consist of three Women's One Day Internationals (WODIs), which formed part of the 2017–20 ICC Women's Championship, and three Women's Twenty20 International (WT20I) matches.

The Ireland cricket team were scheduled to tour Zimbabwe in April 2020 to play three One Day International (ODI) and three Twenty20 International (T20I) matches. All of the matches were scheduled to take place at the Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo. Ireland last toured Zimbabwe in March 2018 for the Cricket World Cup Qualifier, and last played bilateral series in Zimbabwe in October 2015. However, on 16 March 2020, the tour was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2021 international cricket season took place from May 2021 to September 2021. 13 Tests, 56 One Day Internationals (ODIs), 45 Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is) were scheduled to be held in this season. The final of the 2019–2021 ICC World Test Championship took place in June at the Rose Bowl in Southampton, England, with New Zealand beating India by eight wickets. The 2021–2023 ICC World Test Championship started in August 2021, with India's tour of England.

The 2021–22 international cricket season is taking place from September 2021 to April 2022. Currently, 28 Tests, 73 One Day Internationals (ODIs), 113 Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is), 21 Women's One Day Internationals (WODIs), 42 Women's Twenty20 Internationals (WT20Is), and two women's Test matches are scheduled to be played during this period. Additionally, a number of other T20I/WT20I matches are also scheduled to be played in minor series involving associate nations.

The 2019–20 Associate international cricket season was from September 2019 to April 2020. All official twenty over matches between Associate members of the ICC had full Twenty20 International (T20I) or Women's Twenty20 International (WT20I) status, as the International Cricket Council (ICC) granted T20I status to matches between all of its members from 1 July 2018 and 1 January 2019. The season included all T20I/WT20I cricket series involving ICC Associate members, that were of lesser notability than series covered in International cricket in 2019–20. More than 75% of men's T20I matches in the 2019 calendar year featured Associate teams.

The West Indies cricket team were scheduled to tour Australia in October 2020 to play three Twenty20 International (T20I) matches. On 28 May 2020, Cricket Australia confirmed the fixtures for the series. Originally the matches would have been used as warm-up fixtures for the 2020 ICC Men's T20 World Cup. However, in July 2020, the International Cricket Council (ICC) postponed the T20 World Cup until 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In August 2020, the three T20I matches were also postponed due to the pandemic, and a fixture clash with the revised schedule for the 2020 Indian Premier League.

The New Zealand cricket team are scheduled to tour Australia in January and February 2022 to play three One Day Internationals (ODIs) and a one-off Twenty20 International (T20I) match. The ODI matches will be played for the Chappell–Hadlee Trophy, and also form part of the inaugural 2020–2023 ICC Cricket World Cup Super League. Cricket Australia confirmed the revised schedule in May 2021.

The Australia cricket team were scheduled to tour South Africa in March 2021 to play three Test matches. The matches would have formed part of the inaugural 2019–2021 ICC World Test Championship. However, in February 2021, the tour was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In October 2021, Cricket Australia said that they were looking at a window in 2023 to play the matches.

The England cricket team were scheduled to tour Bangladesh in September and October 2021 to play three One Day International (ODI) and three Twenty20 International (T20I) matches. The ODI series would have formed part of the inaugural 2020–2023 ICC Cricket World Cup Super League. The T20I matches would have been used as preparation for the 2021 ICC Men's T20 World Cup. However, in August 2021, the tour was postponed due to fixture congestion and the ongoing Covid pandemic.

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