The England and Wales cricket Board has discussed "contingency plans" to save the upcoming county season amid the rapidly-growing COVID-19 pandemic and suspended all recreational cricket, including pre-season friendlies and training. According to a report in 'ESPNCricinfo', the ECB had a video call with county chief executives to discuss ways to ensure that the event's April 12 start can be stuck to.
The meeting will resume on Thursday "to make decisions about inevitable postponements and cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic which is certain to have a significant effect on the shape of the English home season".
According to the report, measures such as scaling down the championship, have it behind closed doors and shrinking the duration were discussed during the call. The county season runs till September.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the ECB said "it is with sadness and reluctance that we recommend that all forms of recreational cricket are for now suspended."
"This extends to training, pre-season friendlies and any associated cricket activity," it added.
England is now among the worst-affected by the coronavirus spread, which has led to more than 8,000 deaths and has left over 200,000 infected. In the United Kingdom, the number of dead is above 100 with over 50,000 infected.
"Sport plays an absolutely vital role in the nation's mental and physical wellbeing, and it helps people find meaning where there is fear and uncertainty, so one of our goals in the coming weeks will be to explore ways that we can support some levels of physical activity in communities - particularly at junior levels," the ECB stated.
"Using our cricket community to support others could be one of the most important services we can offer during the difficult next few months.
"It will be critical that any decisions we do make are medically-led. And we will continue to work with Government and their advisors to ensure we are informed by science in our decision making," it added.