Coronavirus: Giles holding out hope for full England schedule

Oleh Tom Webber 10 April 2020 2
Coronavirus: Giles holding out hope for full England schedule

England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) managing director of men's cricket Ashley Giles is holding out hope for a full international schedule after the coronavirus pandemic.

The ECB announced last month that no professional cricket will be played until May 28 due to the spread of COVID-19, though that date could yet be extended.

England are due to face West Indies in a three-match Test series starting on June 4, with a series against Pakistan to follow. Limited-overs games against Australia, Pakistan and Ireland are also on the schedule.

Giles is trying to retain a positive outlook and is open to trying to cram in as many games as possible rather than trimming back the fixture list.

"I'm positive that we'll get some cricket in later in the summer," said Giles. "What exactly that looks like I don't know. But we have to be [positive] when we're planning, otherwise it becomes ever decreasing circles and we just get more and more down on the situation. 

"In terms of playing across formats at the same time, we will do whatever we have to do. We will be flexible. By no means would that be ideal but this goes far beyond that. There's some bigger picture stuff here, apart from the health crisis that's going on.

"I don't think anything's off the table, I think it is a blank sheet. If we have to do it, we will. In terms of cricket performance, whilst it not be ideal from a playing point of view, in the long run it might give us a better look at more players and a broader group of people that we might have to play in the future anyway.

"In that sense, it would give greater opportunity. Everything's on the table. I think it would be wrong of me to sit in these meetings – as much as I fight the professional and players' side – there is a bigger picture here and we are going to have to adapt and be as flexible as everyone else."

He added: "In terms of cricket, we're looking at all scenarios and probably with a focus on protecting some of our bigger games. The big games for us in terms of international teams, Test matches, one-dayers, T20Is, looking at scenarios where we can push those back as far as possible without losing any cricket.

"That is possible and I think we have to hang on to hope that we will get out there and we will play. Whether that's behind closed doors or in front of full houses, no one of us quite know. The priority is to doing what the government tells us to do and to keep everyone safe."

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