Hundred and T20 Blast will be prioritised in rescheduled season – Alec Stewart

Surrey’s director of cricket Alec Stewart believes the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) will prioritise getting The Hundred and Vitality Blast competitions on this summer over the County Championship.

Meetings between chiefs from the 18 counties and the ECB bosses are taking place to plot the best way forward for cricket amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A contingency plan will be drawn up and with the County Championship set to get under way in April, it will inevitably be delayed and could be put on the back burner completely, says former England captain Stewart.

“I’m expecting a season to potentially start in July, but it’s only potentially as we don’t know where this pandemic is going to go,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“I think they’ll look at getting The Hundred on and the T20 Blast. They’ll be the two priorities because of the financial implications to the game.”

The ECB’s new 100-ball format of the game, The Hundred, was due to begin in late July and international players have been drafted for the eight teams.

While it could still take place as planned, everything appears up in the air now in light of social distancing measures with the 2020 season to be enormously disrupted.

Counties have already revealed fears over the future from a financial point of view and even Surrey are among those worried about the impact Covid-19 could have.

Surrey have a number of players self-isolating as a precautionary measure
Surrey have a number of players self-isolating as a precautionary measure (Steven Paston/PA)

“The ECB are doing a relentless job behind the scenes to try and make sure they make good, educated decisions,” Stewart said.

“I don’t think anything’s going to be taken off the table. Surrey are one of the better-off counties financially, but at the same time their overheads are greater.

“We’re being told they can manage at the moment, but the longer it goes on, then drastic measures may have to take place.”

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