Alec Stewart: The Hundred & T20 Blast may be only domestic cricket

The Hundred and the T20 Blast may be the only domestic competitions played this summer, says former England captain Alec Stewart.

Stewart, now Surrey’s director of cricket, does not expect the season to start for at least three months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) will meet on Friday to discuss how the 2020 season may be rescheduled.

The County Championship is due to start on 12 April.

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The ECB must also decide what to do about the 50-over-a-side One-Day Cup scheduled to run alongside The Hundred in July and August.

“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,” 56-year-old Stewart told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Eight Surrey players are currently in self-isolation after showing symptoms of Covid-19 and the rest of the squad stopped training on Tuesday in line with government guidelines.

All 18 first-class counties could face an uncertain future with the loss of matchday and competition revenues with a shortened season.

The counties have been in discussions with the ECB finance team over how they can be supported during the uncertainty.

At the ECB’s request, the clubs have also been working on a range of projections that would reflect the impact of various scenarios.

Hampshire chairman Rod Bransgrove said on Tuesday that one of those contingencies could be “no cricket at all this season”.

But Stewart said: “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 Hundred, the ECB’s new 100-ball format of the game featuring eight city-based sides, is due to begin in late July, and international and domestic players have been drafted to the eight teams.

“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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