Nasser Hussain: County Championship may be sacrificed when cricket returns

Nasser Hussain says the England and Wales Cricket Board should consider sacrificing the County Championship if the season is severely shortened by the coronavirus pandemic.

Hussain’s former county Essex were due to begin their title defence on April 12, with the two-division competition once again set to be contested over 14 rounds.

But with no professional cricket scheduled until May 28 at the earliest due to the outbreak, the ECB are currently drawing up a number of potential schedules for what will be a curtailed season.

At the same time the game’s governing body has initiated a £61m package to help cricket weather the financial impact of the pandemic and Hussain says that naturally the ECB must focus on the revenue-driving formats of the game.

“If you can’t do the County Championship justice, or do it properly, then I can’t see the point of doing it at all to be honest with you.

“You are better off going down the more lucrative, money-grabbing ways of promoting the game such as international cricket, then white-ball cricket.

“The Blast becomes a very, very important tournament if and when they do get back on the cricket field, because it does get a good audience.”

For now the global cricket and wider sporting audience is bereft of live action due to the pandemic, which is likely to force a second delay to the start of the Indian Premier League.

“I think they are making an announcement next week on that,” said Hussain.

“That has been delayed until the 15th and you can’t see that happening. There may be a window later in the year for the IPL – maybe in October, leading into the World T20 in Australia so that players get ready for that by having a shortened IPL.

“So everything is up in the air. You’ve got to be flexible from here on in.

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