May 11

Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen feels cricketers will have to deal with playing in empty stadiums until there is a vaccine for Covid-19.

“Fans, the public, need a morale boost,” he was quoted as saying by Reuters. “Their morale at the moment is so negative, so down in the dumps. Sport is so uplifting and so positive for so many people. New sport will have to be played behind closed doors until we find a vaccination for coronavirus.

“Sportsmen have got to deal with it. So what if the crowds are not there? The crowds may not be there in person but the broadcasting numbers will be massive. Some sportsmen are in the prime of their life. Why would they not want to be playing?”

May 9

BCCI says player dues will be paid soon

BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal was quoted as saying by the Indian Express that the process of disbursing payments to domestic cricketers, staff, and associations has begun. Citing the lockdown for delays, Dhumal said players should expect their dues to be paid over the next few days.

“The process has started. We have released payments to players, officials and state associations. Because of the lockdown, things are slow. Our staff verifies documents of 150 players and officials daily, after which we send out instructions to release the payments. There could be a few cases where some might have not got match fees, including old dues like gross revenue share, but they will be getting it soon. If the lockdown hadn’t happened, things could have been done faster. Those who haven’t received payments will be getting it in the coming days,” Dhumal said.

May 5

Edgbaston turns into distribution centre

Warwickshire have offered their Edgbaston ground as a base for a charity providing support for foodbanks and community groups.

Edgbaston is already being used by the Department of Health and Social Care as a Covid-19 drive-through test centre. Now the club has agreed a partnership with a local charity, Thrive Together Birmingham, to use the ground as a food sorting and distribution centre.

As a result, non-perishable food will be stored at the ground, where volunteers will sort, repackage and distribute items to organisations in need.

The testing centre (in the ground’s carpark) and food storage area (within the ground’s exhibition hall) will be kept well apart. No food donations can be made on-site at Edgbaston, with the nearby St. Mary and Saint Ambrose Church, on Raglan Road, acting as a collection centre between 11am and 3.30pm every Friday.

“Since we moved into the forced stadium closure, club staff have been committed to doing all that we can to make a difference in our local community by providing free use of our stadium and grounds, fundraising for important causes, and through volunteering,” Ravi Masih, Head of Community Engagement at Warwickshire CCC and Lead of the Edgbaston Foundation, said.

“We’re thrilled that we can build on our community response during this period by working with such a fantastic charity, in Thrive Together Birmingham, to support those in need.”

“We are delighted that the Edgbaston Foundation have partnered with Thrive Together Birmingham to collect much needed food to help the Brum Together coalition of organisations providing emergency food to people who are most impacted by Covid-19,” Fred Rattley CEO of Thrive Together Birmingham, said.

May 4

Du Plessis raises money to feed the hungry

The plight of South Africa’s hungry, during the coronavirus pandemic , has attracted Faf du Plessis and his wife Imari’s generosity. The couple have so far raised R42,000 (US$2250) to purchase food parcels for those in need.

“I’ve felt a lot of gratitude for what I have and with that has come a huge movement in my heart regarding people who don’t have it,” du Plesis said. “I have always looked at helping people as a lot of us do.

“I find you sit on the outside and you feel sorry but you never really get stuck in and really get involved. I had a huge urgency to get involved and it started with just lifting and glorifying people who were doing amazing things out in the communities and through that it grew within myself and Imari’s hearts to help on a personal level.”

Du Plessis’s hands-on work began when he was contacted on social media to assist in raising funds to feed 174 families for a month. He was put out a call for those willing to contribute to a total of R17,000 (US$910). That money and a surplus of R25000 (US$1340) were secured within a day and a half, allowing them to feed the families in need. The remaining money was used for a charity specifically aimed at feeding children.

“It breaks my heart to see little kids standing in line all across fields waiting to get food,” du Plessis said. “I think that’s maybe the movement inside me because I am a father myself now and I will do absolutely everything for my daughter. That made me want to help them. I want to make sure all the children out there are fed.”

PCB announces financial aid for players, officials and ground staff

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has announced one-time payments to help cricketers, match officials, scorers and ground staff in the wake of the Covid-19 lockdown. The aid comes with the following eligibility criteria:

  • First-class cricketers who featured in the 2018-19 season and have played at least 15 first-class matches in the past five seasons from 2014-15 to 2018-19

  • Match officials and scorers who have officiated in PCB-organised events over the past two seasons

  • Ground staff that were employed by the now-defunct regional/district cricket associations before January 1, 2013 (should have approximately eight years of service)

The eligible first-class cricketers will be paid PKR 25,000 (USD 157 approx.), the match officials PKR 15,000 (USD 94 approx.), and scorers and ground staff PKR 10,000 (USD 63 approx.) each.

May 1

Ashok Malhotra-led ICA raises Rs 38 lakh to help struggling cricketers

Around a week ago, Ashok Malhotra, the president of the recently formed Indian Cricketers’ Association (ICA), had reached out to former cricketers to help raise money for Covid-19-affected cricketers, and within days, Rs 38 lakh [$50,000 approx.] has reportedly reached the ICA, with former internationals Rajinder Singh Ghai and Ashok Patel named by Malhotra as having made significant contributions.

Malhotra’s appeal – on his Facebook page – was to try and take care of “those players, who are over 60 years of age and are not eligible for the [BCCI] pension, who don’t have the means to earn money and are struggling” because of the nationwide lockdown in India. The initial aim was to raise around Rs 30 lakh [$40,000 approx.], add some money from the ICA itself, and help “25-30 cricketers”.

Now, Malhotra told ESPNcricinfo, “the ICA has put in Rs 10 lakh, and we have received another Rs 28 lakh from former cricketers, so we are in a position to help more players than we had originally planned”.

There was at least one major corporate entity as well as some “legendary cricketers”, who had contributed large sums but wished to remain anonymous, the former India batsman said, adding that the revised target has been set at Rs 50 lakh, with May 15 as the deadline, after which “we will shortlist the players and start helping them”.

April 28

Azhar Ali puts two of his ‘closest belongings’ up for auction

Pakistan Test captain Azhar Ali has put the bat he had used during his unbeaten 302 against West Indies during the 2016 series in the UAE and his jersey from Pakistan’s title-winning 2017 Champions Trophy campaign up for auction. The proceeds will go towards Covid-19 relief work in Pakistan.

“I put 2 of my closest belongings on auction with base price of 1 million PKR each to support people suffering due to ongoing crisis. Auction starts now & will close on 11:59PM 05May20,” Ali, the first international cricketer to hit a triple-century in day-night Tests, wrote on Twitter.

“The shirt is from 2017 Champions Trophy which we won, it has the signature of all the players which were present in the squad,” Ali said in a video posted on Twitter. “Both these things are close to my heart but if it can be used in the difficult times for the benefit of the people I will more than happy.”

Tamim Iqbal comes to the aid of disadvantaged sportspersons

Tamim Iqbal has reached out to help 91 sportspersons who have been hit financially due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Iqbal’s charity has had a wide-ranging impact in Bangladesh. Through that, he has come to the support of cyclists, swimmers, gymnasts, footballers, cricketers, kabaddi, wushu, and hockey players, as well as coaches.

Earlier this month, Iqbal helped young sprinter and part-time footballer Samiul Islam, whose family was struggling for food after he lost his job at the Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation recently.

Iqbal was a key player in the coordinating of donations from Bangladesh’s leading cricketers, who pooled in half of their monthly salaries to the Prime Minister’s fund. Last week, Iqbal contacted several former athletes, cricketers and journalists to track down disadvantaged sportspersons across the country.

“I have been in sports for a long time but I have never seen a fellow sportsman help out athletes from so many disciplines at once,” Mahfuza Khatun Shila, a well-known Bangladeshi swimmer, said.

“It wasn’t that he was trying to help well-known cases, but he tried to help anyone who has fallen on hard times due to this current situation. Tamim bhai came to the rescue of many families.”

All sporting activity in Bangladesh has been postponed indefinitely since mid-March, with several hundred athletes waiting for the next competition to commence.

April 27

Sri Lanka Cricket will release LKR 200,000 (approx USD 1040) to member clubs that maintain cricket grounds, in order to support the upkeep of facilities during the ongoing Covid19 curfew. SLC will also pay each district cricket association LKR 150,000 (USD 780) to assist with monthly costs. In addition, SLC will make an advance payment of LKR 780,000 (USD 4050) to the Umpires Association as well.

Sri Lanka’s domestic first-class competition was interrupted by the pandemic, and now faces the possibility of not being completed this year. Ordinarily, SLC makes payments to ground-owning clubs during the course of the competition, and also pays match fees in district-level competitions. However, as those payments have not been made as they normally would, these minor grants aim to help tide the smaller cricket bodies over.

April 21

Rahul puts cricketing gear up for auction

KL Rahul has joined the list of cricketers who have chipped in to raise funds amid the Covid-19 pandemic, setting up an auction of a pair of his batting gloves and pads, a helmet, a bat he used at last year’s World Cup, and a jersey from each of the three formats he has represented India in. The proceeds from the auction will go to a charity that works with underprivileged children.

Rahul announced the initiative on his birthday on Saturday via the Bharat Army, the India supporters’ group, saying that he couldn’t have picked a better day for it. “Go on check out the auction and show some love for me and the children and let’s stay strong together during this difficult time and all of us will come out of this stronger,” Rahul said in video message.

April 19

Rahim puts up Test double-hundred bat for auction

Bangladesh batsman Mushfiqur Rahim has decided to put up his bat for auction, the proceeds from which will go towards Covid-19 relief efforts. The bat is the one with which he made his first Test double-hundred against Sri Lanka in Galle in 2013.

“I am putting up the bat with which I made a double hundred for auction,” Mushfiqur told the Dhaka-based Bengali daily Prothom Alo. “It will be put up online, so let’s see how we can go about it. I urge everyone with the ability to push up the price of the bat since the proceeds will be spent entirely for the poor people.”

Mushfiqur’s announcement comes a few days after Shakib Al Hasan urged his teammates to auction off their bats, jerseys and other equipment to provide for the poor during this time.

England’s World Cup winning cricketer Jos Buttler has already raised GBP 65,100 by auctioning off his World Cup final jersey.

April 11

Shakib Al Hasan reunites with family after self-isolation

Shakib Al Hasan has said that he was in self-quarantine for two weeks in a Wisconsin hotel after having travelled from Dhaka amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Shakib, who is serving a one-year ban for failing to report bookie approaches, is now back home with his pregnant wife in USA. She is expected to give birth to their second child next month.

“It was a tough period,” Shakib told the Dhaka-based Prothom Alo in his first interview since last October. “It had no relation to normal life. It was like adopting to a different condition, as we say in cricket. Since I had come on a flight from Bangladesh, I didn’t want my family to be at risk.

“After I had returned home, I went out just once to buy some stuff. I was wearing gloves and mask. We are constantly washing hands and using sanitizers. Whenever someone comes home, we keep their clothes separate or wash it.”

Shakib, who will be eligible to return to competitive cricket in October later this year, expected Bangladesh’s cricketers to work on their fitness during this downtime.

“I am sure everyone is doing work at home,” he said. Cricketers know what they have do in this situation, especially about their fitness. I know it can be hard to focus but they have to do something. They can do what everyone else does at home, for half-an-hour to one hour. There’s not much one can do.”

April 8

Akhtar proposes India-Pakistan series to raise funds

Shoaib Akhtar has proposed a three-match ODI or T20I series between India and Pakistan to raise funds to fight against COVID-19 pandemic.

In a video on his YouTube channel, Akhtar said the games could be behind closed doors. “Players from both sides can be tested beforehand and the two sides can play a three-ODI or three-T20I series, with no crowds,” he said. “The matches can be only on TV and since everyone is at home these days with nothing much to do, these may prove to be the most viewed games in the history of the sport.

“I am sure such games will generate great funds. If Virat [Kohli] scores a hundred, Pakistan fans will be happy, if Babar Azam scores a hundred, Indian fans will be happy. For the first time, even if a team loses, it will be a winner.”

Australian Cricketers’ Association launches emergency fund

The Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) has launched an emergency fund to help former players and those relying on a second income who are suffering financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Emergency Assistance Fund provides grants or loans of up to A$2000 from a pot of A$250,000 to past players and domestic female cricketers to help bridge the gap before government support comes through.

“Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve spoken to several members who are doing it tough, and we’ve been trying to help where we can,” Kelly Applebee, the ACA’s general manager member programs and relations, said.

“We’ve worked hard over that time to bring together a framework around the support we can provide, as well as some significant resources, and we encourage those members who have felt the impact of the coronavirus and who are still waiting on government support, to get in touch with us as we may be able to help.”

April 5

BCB says COVID-19 hasn’t affected their revenue-earning tournaments

BCB’s finances will not suffer heavily despite the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the board’s financial committee chairman Ismail Haider Mallick. Bangladesh’s postponed tours of Pakistan and Ireland will not have any financial repercussions on the board, Mallick said, adding that they were hoping to earn back any losses through the Asia Cup, the T20 World Cup and the 2020-21 BPL.

Mallick pointed out that the BCB hadn’t expected huge revenues from home Test series against the likes of Australia and New Zealand, both of whom are scheduled to tour Bangladesh between June and August. He also said that the BCB are doing as well as some of the wealthier boards.

“Coronavirus didn’t affect any of our revenue earning tournaments,” Mallick told the Dhaka-based Prothom Alo. “The tours to Pakistan and Ireland were postponed, but those were to be paid by their boards. We will be okay if the ICC tournament and the Asia Cup go ahead.

“Altogether, the BCB may incur a loss of 20 to 25 per cent in this fiscal year. It will get bigger only if the situation worsens. We would have earned a little from the Australia series. But if the World T20 and Asia Cup goes ahead and we can hold the BPL next season, we can take care of all our losses. BCB is in sound financial health, among the top five in the world after India, Australia, England and New Zealand. We also have certain reserved funds.”

Sri Lanka players given ‘individual fitness plans’

Sri Lanka coach Mickey Arthur has said that their cricketers have been given “individual fitness plans” to keep them in shape even as sports across the world have been brought to a standstill by the coronavirus pandemic.

“These plans are tailored to the facilities that each player has at his disposal at home to maintain the expected fitness levels,” Arthur said. “Our trainers Dishan Foneska and Paul Khoury have been very proactive in working out the programs with each individual. I have been sending out exercises to each player as well based on the player reflecting and then sharing with me strengths and weaknesses of their games. These reflections are mental, physical and technical. This allows us as coaches to then add this to the player plans that we have constructed for each player.

“The monitoring process is a very simple one and it is just me communicating with each player on an individual basis.”

April 3

Mumbai umpires offer support to local scorers, match officials

In Mumbai, a group of former umpires have come together to financially support local match officials and scorers in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic that has brought all sport to a halt. Led by former Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) managing committee member and ex-BCCI umpire Ganesh Iyer, the group has so far raised INR 2.5 lakh ($ 3300 approx.).

“We umpires have formed a group ‘Lending a Hand’ to help umpires and scorers whose livelihood depends on cricket,” Iyer told PTI on Thursday. “We appealed to the members to contribute voluntarily. We have also identified those scorers and umpires, whose livelihood is dependent on local matches.

“By Friday, 47 umpires and 15 scorers – a total 62 persons – would have been given the first amount of Rs 3000 each, the process of payment began yesterday through credits directly into their bank accounts and the next installments (would be given) in next 7-10 days.”

According to MCA tournament coordinator Abhay Hadap, a scorer and an umpire gets INR 1,500 and 2,000 per day per match respectively. Given the MCA suspended all matches from March 14 to April 14 due to the Covid-19 outbreak and the subsequent lockdown, the income of the match officials has copped a severe blow.

“There were at least 25 incomplete tournaments this season as the matches go on till May end. For example, remaining matches of the Corporation Shield were still to be played,” Hadap said. “When the knockouts are played there are at least 120 matches. Also there were 10-15 private tournaments that were yet to be completed. So, yes the losses for umpires and scorers are huge.”

New Zealand women’s tour of Sri Lanka postponed, men’s tours ‘unlikely’

New Zealand Cricket CEO David White has said that while the national women’s tour of Sri Lanka, originally set to begin later this month, has been postponed, the men’s tour of Scotland, Ireland, the Netherlands and the West Indies, slated through June-July earlier, is “unlikely” to take place.

“Clearly, this situation is extremely disappointing for everyone involved in sport but, given the bigger picture, and the terrible toll COVID-19 is taking worldwide, we need to look after not only our own people but the greater community good,” White said in a video press conference.

“Cricket in New Zealand has been fortunate in that we were very much at the end of our home summer programme when this crisis struck. However, with the lockdown now in full force, we’re mindful of the difficulties facing our cricket community. Our current focus is very much on ensuring the future sustainability of cricket in New Zealand.”

April 2 South Africa men complete 14-day self-isolation but remain in lockdown for next two weeks

The South Africa men’s squad, which returned from the incomplete tour of India on March 18, has completed a 14-day period of self-isolation but, along with the rest of the country, will remain in lockdown for the next two weeks.

“All the players were symptom-free and those who opted to perform the tests returned negative results,” Dr Shuaib Manjra, CSA’s chief medical officer, said.

CSA’s focus is now on maintaining the players’ fitness regime, a challenge during the nationwide stay-at-home. South Africa is on day seven of a 21-day nationwide lockdown, which prohibits leaving home except to buy food or medicine and does not allow for any outdoor exercise. While that provides time for players to work through any lingering injuries, it is also important that they maintain their fitness levels, and fitness trainer Tumi Masekela has sent them all training programmes.

“We’ve got time now to work with players in terms of addressing the small niggles that they may have. They have got time to rest and also to do the strength work. But the one big thing is the running volume, the aerobic capacity base, which I am going to try and build up in the next two weeks, so that means lot of running, or a lot of cardio work, cycling or swimming,” Masekela said.

Most of the players have access to home gyms and would be able to continue their routines. But what about regular folk, like us, who don’t have a treadmill at home? “Just try and do 20 minutes of exercise. Whether it be 100 push-ups in 20 minutes, burpees, lunges squats, running up and down the stairs or using skipping rope, please do that,” Masekela said. “Use this time to release endorphins, which is your natural happy pill, which is something everybody could do with.”

April 1

Harbhajan and Yuvraj lend their support to Afridi’s charity

Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh lent their support to Shahid Afridi‘s charity foundation that is raising money to fight the coronavirus pandemic in Pakistan.

The Shahid Afridi Foundation has been distributing food and sanitation packs among the poor to help them tide over the crisis. One pack consists of essential food items such as flour, rice, lentils alongwith sugar, salt, cooking oil and soap. The foundation says the amounts distributed are aimed at letting a family of five sustain itself for 15 days. To continue distributing these, the foundation is raising money through donations, which Yuvraj and Harbhajan urged the public at large to take part in.

“All of humanity should be united at this time, and be together while helping each other,” Harbhajan said in a video posted on his Twitter page. “I would like to congratulate Shahid Afridi’s Foundation, who have done really good work to keep humanity alive.

“I would like to tell you all to stay at home, stay safe, stay with your families. Listen to what your governments are telling you and don’t venture out of your house. Hopefully, together we will eradicate coronavirus from the world.”

Yuvraj echoed Harbhajan’s words and said he had the same message to give to everyone. “At this time, everyone has to work together and stay together,” he said, also posting a video on his Twitter page. “People have faced a lot of difficulties, and lots of poor people aren’t getting food to eat. As Harbhajan said, the SAF foundation in Pakistan, which is Shahid Afridi’s foundation, is doing a lot of good work and helping a lot of poor people. So please donate.”

Afridi thanked both Indian cricketers, saying “this bond we have shows love and peace transgresses borders when it comes to humanity especially.”

March 30

BCB announces one-time monetary support to women cricketers

The BCB will pay Bangladesh’s women cricketers BDT 20,000 (US $250) each, similar to the one-time payment given to a section of the country’s men cricketers earlier in the week. Those who appeared in the 2018-19 Women’s National Cricket League as well as a recent training camp will receive this amount.

BCB president Nazmul Hassan said the payment will help out cricketers stuck at home without any competitive cricket or training due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“Just like their male counterparts, the majority of women cricketers also look towards domestic events for an earning,” Hassan said. “Besides, we had training camps scheduled for women players which have been hampered by the prevailing COVID-19 situation. The cricketers have been forced to pass a period of non-activity and they need our support.”

The BCB postponed all its activities on March 16, and is unlikely to renew tournaments and training camps until the situation eases. Hassan said the board would take a call in April about the men’s Dhaka Premier League tournament. “We are going to maintain the highest level of caution,” he said. “We don’t know where, when or how it will end. I think after April there may be a chance to talk but before that I don’t think that there is an opportunity to talk about sports.”

Lord’s offers facilities to NHS staff

Lord’s is to put its prime positioning in central London to good use by offering up its unused facilities to NHS staff and the city’s nearby hospitals.

MCC has provided 75 parking space at Lord’s for staff at Wellington Hospital, University College Hospital, and the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth. The club is also providing storage areas for the Wellington Hospital, which is situated on the northern side of the ground and has been known to use the Nursery Ground as an emergency landing area for its Air Ambulance helicopters.

In addition, the club has provided food to City Harvest London, an organisation that seeks to redistribute fresh surplus food to those in need

“We are continuing to work closely with our local community, hospitals and organisations to offer support as best we can during this period,” said the club in a statement.

March 28

BCCI to contribute INR 51 crore to fight coronavirus pandemic

The BCCI along with its affiliated state associations will contribute INR 51 crore (USD 6.8 million approx.) towards the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM-CARES) fund to help India fight the coronavirus pandemic.

“The outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is first and foremost a public health emergency and the BCCI has a firm resolve that the nation gets all possible help to cope with the testing times,” a BCCI release said on Saturday.

BCB announces one-time payment for non-contracted DPL players

Non-contracted players from this season’s Dhaka Premier League will get BDT 30,000 (US $375 approx.) from the Bangladesh Cricket Board as part-compensation for the tournament being postponed till April 14. The players who are eligible for this one-time payment are those not in the central contract, first-class contract or the newly-formed Under-21 group.

The 2019-20 Dhaka Premier League was postponed on March 19 after just one completed round of matches in compliance with the directive from the Ministry of Youth & Sports, and measures taken by the Government to fight the COVID-19 outbreak.

BCB president Nazmul Hassan made the announcement on Saturday evening, after several out of contract cricketers voiced their concerns about their livelihood.

“With the tournament looking at an indefinite period of shut down, cricketers who are not part of the BCB’s contracts are likely to face financial hardship, as they may have only received partial payment from their respective Premier League Clubs. This assistance is for that section of the players,” said Hassan.

The Bangladesh government went into shutdown from March 25 to April 4, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Knight signs up for NHS volunteer scheme

England captain Heather Knight has signed up to be a National Health Service (NHS) volunteer during the coronavirus outbreak.

Knight only returned from Australia, where she led England to the semi-finals of the Women’s T20 World Cup, 10 days ago and is now living under the UK’s lockdown rules with her boyfriend in Bristol.

She revealed in her BBC column that she had volunteered for the scheme that will see people support the health service by delivering food and medicine, transporting patients to appointments and making calls to those in isolation.

“I signed up to the NHS’s volunteer scheme as I have a lot of free time on my hands and I want to help as much as I can,” Knight said. “My brother and his partner are doctors, and I have a few friends who work in the NHS, so I know how hard they are working and how difficult it is for everyone.”

March 27

ICC working on contingency planning

The ICC has said that it is carrying out “contingency planning” to “adapt” to the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic that has forced a majority of the world into lockdown. However, ESPNcricinfo understands no definite plans were discussed at the meeting which took place on Friday via conference call.

In a media release issued later, the ICC said that its management would continue to keep the member countries updated on the way forward for various ICC events that have been affected due to the pandemic: the ongoing World Test Championship, the World Cup ODI Super League which is scheduled to begin from May and the men’s T20 World Cup, which is scheduled for October-November in Australia.

“We continue to undertake a comprehensive business continuity and contingency planning exercise which will allow us to adapt to the rapidly evolving world in which we find ourselves,” the ICC’s press release said. “The ICC management will continue our contingency planning around ICC events and will also work with Members to explore all options available to us based on a range of scenarios connected to the pandemic.”

As reported on Thursday, the ICC Board along with the Chief Executives Committee are scheduled for quarterly meetings in May to discuss a range of back-up plans based on how the pandemic continues to develop.

Friday’s conference call also was the first time former India captain Sourav Ganguly attended the ICC Board meeting as representative of the BCCI of which he is the president.

Irish season delayed until May 28

Cricket Ireland have confirmed the postponement of their home season until May 28, in line with the announcement made by the ECB last week.

“The postponement of the start of the season will allow us to observe government directives and public health protocols, and ensure the welfare and safety of our volunteers, players, staff, coaches, and families within the cricket community, and we will take all necessary actions to do our part in limiting the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19),” read a statement.

The board is developing scenarios for what the domestic season might look like once operations can be resumed.

Ireland’s series against Bangladesh in May has already been postponed, while New Zealand’s tour – scheduled to begin on June 19 – appears to be in doubt. Further down the line, Pakistan are due to play two T20Is at Malahide in July, though the venue’s head groundsman Phil Frost has been temporarily repatriated to England and the ground is shut.

“While we note that Malahide Cricket Club is ‘making alternative arrangements to ensure upkeep of the grounds’ while closed, we shall continue to monitor the state of readiness of the ground to host international cricket once restrictions are lifted, and will liaise with the club accordingly in the coming weeks,” said Warren Deutrom, Cricket Ireland’s chief executive.

March 26

Centrally contracted players contribute 5 million to fight coronavirus in Pakistan

PCB’s centrally contracted players will collectively contribute PKR 5 million to the government’s emergency fund to fight against the COVID-19 outbreak in Pakistan. In addition to the players’ contribution, PCB’s senior staff will also add their bit, with those who are at senior manager ranks donating one day’s salary and those who are at the rank of general managers and above donating two days’ salary. In addition to that the PCB, as an institution, will match the contribution of its staff to the government fund.

Pakistan is presently in a semi lock down state with the country having over 1,100 confirmed coronavirus cases. The number of cases surged rapidly in the past seven days – as has been the pattern with the global pandemic in other countries – as Pakistan saw nine deaths and 21 recoveries.

All the Pakistan players are in self-isolation at home while the overseas coaching staff have been released so that the can return home. Bowling coach Waqar Younis, who is based in Sydney, is presently quarantined by the government in Australia after returning from Pakistan upon completing his commentary stint in the PSL.

“The Pakistan Cricket Board has always stood with the people of Pakistan in desperate times,” said PCB chairman Ehsan Mani. “This is one of the gravest, most challenging and unprecedented times, which our local and federal governments and health workers are having to face with. While we continue to pray for the well-being and success of our health workers so that normality returns to our society, we at the PCB are making a small contribution which will support the government in its endeavours against the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The PCB had also offered the use of their high performance centre in Karachi to paramedics working at the Expo Centre, which has become a makeshift hospital.

ICC postpones qualifying events for Associates

The ICC has announced that all its pathway qualification events for Associate members as part of the 2021 T20 World Cup and 2023 Men’s World Cup have been postponed until the end of June, pending a reevaluation of the status of the coronavirus pandemic at that time. This includes all regional qualification events for the 2021 T20 World Cup Qualifiers as well as multiple ODI and List A series as part of the 2019-2022 Men’s World Cup League Two and Challenge League for Associates.

The ICC had previously announced earlier this month that the League Two ODI tri-series scheduled for April 1-8 in Florida between USA, UAE and Scotland had been postponed. Thursday’s announcement confirms the postponement of an ODI tri-series in Namibia that included Nepal and Scotland from April 20-27 as well as an ODI tri-series in Papua New Guinea including Nepal and UAE that was scheduled for June 9-16. As for T20 World Cup regional qualification, six events that were due to be held between April and June – spread between Kuwait, South Africa, Spain, Belgium, Malaysia and Finland – have also been postponed. The ICC stated that nine other pathway events scheduled for the second half of the year – three ODI tri-series in League Two, two Challenge League tournaments, and four T20 World Cup regional qualification tournaments – are being continually monitored with relevant stakeholders.

The 2021 Women’s World Cup Qualifier, which is scheduled to be held from July 3 to 19 in Sri Lanka, is also under monitoring.

Lauren Winfield, Amy Jones stuck in Australia

England women cricketers Lauren Winfield and Amy Jones are both stuck in Australia with worldwide travel restrictions in force due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Winfield was in Hamilton Island on the Great Barrier Reef, celebrating her honeymoon after her marriage to long-term partner Courtney Hill. Jones was in Perth. Both have found themselves stranded in Australia, and are currently unable to return home with borders closing.

“I was supposed to fly home on Friday,” Winfield told The Independent. “But my flight has been cancelled. Everything through Dubai, Emirates, has been cancelled for the next two weeks. They are reassessing in two weeks’ time. But rumours are it could be up to two to three months. At the minute I have a flight on the 8th (April), but I feel like that’s just going to come around and it’ll get pushed back and back.”

Iain O’Brien launches fundraising appeal

Iain O’Brien, the former New Zealand fast bowler, has launched a funding page in a bid to return to his family.

O’Brien, who now lives with his wife and two daughters near Matlock in England, was visiting his parents in New Zealand when the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic struck.

While he has already booked three flights home – some of them eye-wateringly expensive – the airlines subsequently cancelled. The delay in refunding the cost of such bookings has eaten deep into O’Brien’s resources.

Bangladesh cricketers face uncertain future

Many professional cricketers in Bangladesh are worried about losing their entire income for the season, with the uncertainty around the remainder of the Dhaka Premier League continuing. Around 60 players who play in the league, but are not part of the BCB list of contracts – central or first-class – face a tricky next many days because of the COVID-19 pandemic that has stopped cricket around the world.

March 25

Bangladesh cricketers pool money to help combat crisis

Bangladesh’s premier cricketers have contributed 50% of their monthly salaries to a fund that has been put in place to deal with the COVID-19 situation in the country. All the centrally contracted players and others who played against Zimbabwe this month have pooled in BDT 26 lakh (US$ 32,500 approx.) for the cause.

The country is in lockdown following the death of four people and reports of 44 other being infected. The government has directed around 15,000 people around to country to go into self-isolation, and to ensure that happens, the army has been deployed.

Cricketers have also gone into self-isolation, and the likes of Mashrafe Mortaza, Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan have delivered messages on social media for people to stay at home.

Space at Eden Gardens made available as a medical facility

The indoor training facility and the players’ dormitory at Eden Gardens have been made available to the West Bengal state government as a temporary medical facility to deal with the COVID-19 situation, Sourav Ganguly has said.

“If government asks us, we will certainly hand over the facility. Anything that is need of the hour, we will do it. There is absolutely no problem,” BCCI president Ganguly, who was the president of the Cricket Association of Bengal earlier, was quoted as saying by PTI.

Similarly, the Cricket Association of Pondicherry has offered the dormitory at its Tutipet campus as an isolation facility for COVID-19 patients.

“We stopped cricketing activities due to outbreak of coronavirus. We can offer these facilities to house up to 30 infected patients if need be with necessary medical tie-up through Laxmi Medical College,” a letter from the association to the governor of the union territory of Puducherry said.

ECB offers customised home-training packages to premier cricketers

With no cricket likely in the immediate future, the ECB has offered customised home-training packages to Joe Root and Heather Knight’s teams to help them stay in shape. The packages include equipment such as ropes, resistance bands, a medicine ball and a kettle ball.

“I’m an active person anyway, with my young son keeping me busy, but having a structured plan will help me improve in certain areas,” Root was quoted as saying by AFP. “While it has been good to get some downtime after our return from Sri Lanka, keeping my fitness up is really important so I can be at the top of my game when we get back on the field.”

Knight said it was not ideal but one had to find ways to stay in shape.

“We’ll all just be doing what we can to maintain our levels and, hopefully, be as ready as we can when we get back playing, whenever that comes,” Knight said. “It’s obviously not ideal, but it’s a great way of trying to stay in shape and keep ticking over.”

CWI extends suspension of all domestic cricket

Cricket West Indies (CWI) has called off all its domestic tournaments this season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, after earlier suspending all cricket until mid-April. The board, following a teleconference of the board of directors on Tuesday afternoon, cancelled the last two rounds of matches of its first-class competition and announced Barbados as the winners.

Barbados were leading the points table of the four-day competition with a tally of 134.8, followed by Trinidad and Tobago (94.6), Guyana (91.8), Jamaica (91.8), Windward Islands (78) and Leeward Islands (52.8).

In a statement, the board said it was acting on the guidelines of its medical advisory committee. The other tournaments and camps to be immediately affected were the Women’s Super50 Cup (postponed to later this year), Regional Under-19s Women’s T20 Championship (postponed to later this year), Regional Under-15s Boys Championship (cancelled for 2020), West Indies Under-15s Tour to England in the summer (cancelled for 2020), high performance and international preparation training camps (cancelled until at least May 31, 2020).

“All around the sporting world we are faced with the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Johnny Grave, CEO of CWI said. “Cricket, cricketers and all our stakeholders involved in the game have been affected at various levels and we must continue to work to together and act responsibly in containing the spread of the virus.

“Ten days ago, we suspended our tournaments and camps for 30 days and now we have extended that suspension until the end of May as well as reluctantly cancelled some tournaments and tours in their entirety. We will continue to monitor and assess the situation and make further decisions and announcements in due course.”

Grave also said that CWI has put systems in place to make sure its staff follow the necessary protocols as outlined by its medical advisory committee and the World Health Organisation. The board also reinforced the importance for all territorial boards and local cricket associations to follow the advice of their respective ministries of health.

March 24

Kent have become the first county to take steps to offset the financial implications of the delayed English season by announcing that their executive directors have voluntarily accepted a short-term pay cut of 20%.

With the UK entering a phase of enforced lockdown in an attempt to contain the coronavirus outbreak, and little prospect of any cricket taking place before June at the earliest, counties have begun to assess their day-to-day running. Kent have assembled a COVID-19 taskforce and are in talks with the local council to discuss terms of a loan repayment, among other measures.

The club’s executive directors – including chief executive Simon Storey and director of cricket Paul Downton – offered to take a pay cut in order to send a positive message. “We feel these are exceptional circumstances,” Storey told ESPNcricinfo. “We will find a way through this for Kent.”

With many counties leading a precarious financial existence, there have been warnings that a drastically reduced 2020 season could threaten the viability of some. However, the question of players also taking a cut in pay is a step that would likely need to be agreed with the Professional Cricketers’ Association and the ECB.

March 23

PCB turns Karachi training facility into lodging area for paramedics

The Pakistan Cricket Board has offered the use of their high performance centre in Karachi to paramedics working at the Expo Centre which has become a makeshift hospital.

PCB Chief Operating Officer Salman Naseer said: “All the paramedic staff are our heroes as in these challenging and difficult times, they are risking their lives to save the lives and well-being of many affected by COVID-19.

“As a small token of our appreciation and acknowledgement to these unsung heroes and as part of our duty of care, the PCB is pleased to offer its state-of-the-art Hanif Mohammad High Performance Centre as a temporary lodging and boarding for the paramedic staff working at Expo Centre hospital so that they can serve those suffering from COVID-19 more effectively and efficiently.”

No discussion about moving CPL 2020

The global cricket schedule – as with most other things around the world – has been thrown out of gear by the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) organisers are hoping to get the competition going on schedule in August-September this year.

“CPL has been in constant communication with our medical advisors in recent weeks, as well as speaking with Cricket West Indies about the current situation with regard to cricket around the world, and at present there has been no discussion about moving the event,” a CPL statement said. “CPL believes it is too early to make such a decision, but this is an evolving situation and we are carefully watching how events unfold in the Caribbean and around the world.”

That said, they are also discussing contingency plans for the event, slotted for August 19 to September 26: “At present the CPL team are planning for the tournament to take place as scheduled whilst also looking at alternative plans should they be needed.”

ICC shuts headquarters, to ‘convene remotely’ to discuss urgent matters

The International Cricket Council has shut down its headquarters in Dubai and moved to a work-from-home policy from this week in response to growing concerns around the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic.

The governing body of the game, led by chairman Shashank Manohar and chief executive Manu Sawhney, is preparing for a video conference on Friday to address urgent board matters around the way the cricket calendar is being impacted by the pandemic, which has already delayed the start of the IPL and also severely affected the outlook for the coming English season in particular. The men’s edition of the T20 World Cup is scheduled to be played in Australia in October and November, placing it hard up against a raft of measures the Australian government has indicated will need to be in place for at least six months.

“In light of the continued global spread of COVID-19, concerns expressed by Members and mindful of the importance of taking mitigating measures against the virus, the ICC Board, has decided to hold its meetings scheduled for Dubai at the end of March via conference call only,” the ICC said in a statement on March 12. “The Board and a number of committees will convene remotely to consider matters for urgent decision only, with the full meetings rescheduled for early May.

“This will be kept under constant review in line with advice from relevant authorities as the health and well-being of staff and those attending the meetings remains our priority.”

We need to think about others, not just ourselves – Usman Khawaja

Australian batsman Usman Khawaja on Saturday spoke bluntly on social media about the need for society as a whole to put others first in their consideration of how to handle COVID-19, which has spread virulently across the globe.

“Just because the mortality rates for Covid-19 for many isn’t high, doesn’t mean you should have a blasé attitude. It’s our responsibility as a society to think about the elderly and the social and economical cost this will have on so many lives. We all need to do our part,” he wrote on Twitter. “The more seriously we take it, then hopefully, the quicker we can get through it and the less amount of lives that are affected both medically and financially. We need to think about others, not just ourselves.”

Similarly, Test captain Tim Paine had spoken about Cricket Australia’s decision to bring an early end to the home season, awarding the Sheffield Shield to New South Wales and advising against the conclusion of community competitions – though stopping short of an outright ban.

“There’s no doubt this has been a big week for our cricket community, a really big time for Australians,” Paine said. “Some decisions have been made in the best interest of our country, and its most vulnerable people. Those decisions were certainly not made lightly and have been made on the best possible advice from our government and from health experts.

“I hope we are all back playing the game we love and going about our lives the way we want to as soon as possible, but in the meantime, please take of yourselves, take care of others and ride this out together.”

Cricket Association of Bengal insures players, officials

The Cricket Association of Bengal has made changes to its insurance policy to cover Bengal players and match officials against the threat of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).

“A couple of days ago, our president Mr Avishek Dalmiya initiated this,” CAB vice-president Naresh Ojha told ESPNcricinfo. “The policy covers all our players and umpires.”

SLC to grant LKR 25 million to government

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has decided to grant LKR 25 million to the government to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic. As of Monday noon, Sri Lanka had approximately 85 active COVID-19 cases in the country. All domestic cricket in Sri Lanka has been suspended to prevent the further spread of the novel coronavirus.

March 22

Kumar Sangakkara in self-isolation after Colombo return

Kumar Sangakkara has confirmed he is currently in self-quarantine in Colombo, as per the Sri Lanka government’s guidelines for those who have recently returned from Europe.

He made the revelation amids substantial concerns that those who have recently returned to the island have not been checking in with the police and maintaining proper isolation. In fact, the government even confirmed there have been at least three cases of recent returnees attempting to hide COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) symptoms from authorities, with one of those returnees going as far as to expose medical staff – among others – in a local hospital.

“I have no symptoms or anything like that, but I’m following government guidelines,” Sangakkara told News First on Sunday. “I arrived from London over a week ago and the first thing was there was a news bulletin saying that anyone who had traveled from within March 1 to 15 should register themselves with the police and undergo self quarantine. I registered myself with the police.”

Both Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene have been active on Twitter and Instagram, urging Sri Lankans to avoid panic and to exercise proper social distancing, as the country went into curfew on Friday evening. Several present cricketers have also emphasised the need for social distancing on their own social-media accounts.

As of Sunday afternoon, Sri Lanka had 78 active COVID-19 cases in the country. There are fears, however, that that number could shoot up rapidly, as there had been potential mass-infection events over the past 10 days. This includes the “Big Match” cricket encounter between St. Thomas’ College and Royal College last weekend, which attracted tens of thousands of spectators over three days, one of whom has since been confirmed to have contracted COVID-19.

Jason Gillespie goes into two-week isolation

Jason Gillespie, the former Australia fast bowler who’s now the head coach at Sussex, has returned home and gone into two weeks of self-isolation. Gillespie had been in Cape Town with the Sussex team for a pre-season tour, which was cut short as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

March 21

Ireland-Bangladesh series postponed due to COVID-19

Bangladesh’s tour of Ireland and England in May has been postponed due to the COVID 19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic. Three ODIs and four T20Is were scheduled to be held in Ireland and England from May 14 to 29. It was an expected call after all cricketing activities in England was shut down until May 28; the T20Is were slated for The Oval, Chelmsford, Bristol and Edgbaston.

Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom said that it was a decision taken after discussion with the BCB.

“Once the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic was understood, and the advice of both governments and partner boards was sought, it became increasingly unlikely that this series could proceed as scheduled,” Deutrom said. “We have a responsibility to protect the wellbeing of players, coaches, fans and the wider community, and will not hesitate to take a safety-first approach to our operations over coming months. We will continue monitoring the situation, and will liaise as necessary with relevant sports bodies, public health agencies and our stakeholders here and abroad, and provide further updates on the home season in due course.

“We would like to thank the Bangladesh Cricket Board for their helpful cooperation in reaching this decision, and we shall work with them at establishing new dates for the series when we are all in a position to plan for the future with greater certainty.”

Ireland’s tour of Zimbabwe was recently called off, as well as the one-off ODI and second Test between Bangladesh and Pakistan in Karachi, scheduled for the start of April.

All domestic cricket in Sri Lanka postponed

Sri Lanka Cricket has postponed all domestic cricket in the country as the nation went into an island-wide curfew on Friday, to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).

This, amid concerns that a local cricket match did play a role in community transmissions in Sri Lanka. The Big Match – an annual school encounter between the purported elite boys’ schools S. Thomas’ College and Royal College – was played between March 12 and 14, with tens of thousands of spectators in attendance at the SSC. One of those spectators has since tested positive for COVID-19, and all those who came into contact with him have been asked to self-isolate.

March 20

Majid Haq tweets news of positive coronavirus test

Former Scotland offspinner Majid Haq was diagnosed with Coronavirus. He said in a post on Twitter that he was heading back home after having tested positive. “Looking forward to potentially getting back home today after testing positive with Coronavirus. Staff at the RAH in Paisley have been good to me & thank you to everyone who has sent me messages of support. Insha Allah the Panther will be back to full health soon. #covid19UK”

Haq has played 54 ODIs and 21 T20Is, but last played for Scotland only in 2015.

March 19

The PCB has confirmed that all the 128 COVID-19 tests it had conducted on March 17, the day when the PSL was postponed, have come back negative. On Tuesday, the PSL was suspended after Karachi Kings’ Alex Hales had developed

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