Less than a week after the confirmation of regional retainers for 20 new domestic professional cricketers in England, ECB Chief Executive Tom Harrison has cast doubts upon whether the ECB’s plans to go ahead with the regional “Centres of Excellence” competition this season can proceed.
Announcing the rescheduled start of the men’s domestic season on August 1st, Harrison had the following to say about the women’s game:
“Our strong preference is that the women’s new elite domestic structure starts this summer and we will work hard to ensure that happens.”
But… there was a but:
“For this to be achieved, brand new infrastructure still needs to be rolled-out, alongside imperatives we need in place when playing competitive cricket during a pandemic.”
“Our first choice remains to do everything we can to start this year and build on the fantastic momentum in the women’s game. In the event that proves impossible, we will explore other options for play to enable our women’s players to enjoy competitive domestic cricket in 2020.”
Those other options may well ironically be local county competitions, of exactly the sort the ECB tried to discourage the counties from organising, following the disbanding of the Women’s County Championship.
“Planning for the return of the women’s domestic game remains ongoing, but our commitment to women’s domestic cricket is unwavering and we look forward to sharing further news shortly.”
Hopefully we’ll get some answers soon.