Players banned from pubs under new rules for county matches
All county cricketers have had to sign an opt-in letter governing their behaviour on and off the field ahead of the start tomorrow of the Bob Willis Trophy, which replaces the County Championship.
One of the main rules, The Daily Telegraph understands, is that players will not be allowed to visit pubs during the competition, which will consist of five four-day matches per county. While Covid testing was carried out on England’s Test players during their series against West Indies, it will not be done on county players – only daily symptom and temperature checks.
Research shows that in the month to March 23, based on 13 first-class counties, there were 21 cases and all were community-acquired, none through training and playing.
Players will travel by team bus, with the driver wearing personal protective equipment, whenever possible, to matches in the new competition. Otherwise, it will be one player per car.
With the Government due to relax restrictions on sporting crowds from Oct 1, the England and Wales Cricket Board hopes a large crowd will be permitted to attend the final of the Bob Willis Trophy at the start of October. The fixture list has been arranged in geographical groups to minimise travel and nights away.
The host county will advise the visitors on where they should stay – whether hotels, where a floor will be cordoned off for each team with no hotel cleaners or other staff allowed during the game, or private schools, which can be deep-cleaned.
In two pilot games, the Oval welcomed 21 per cent of normal capacity (alternate rows and two seats between each household), and Edgbaston 15 per cent, with greater social distancing. The Oval will be allowed to accommodate 2,500 spectators tomorrow and Sunday for Surrey’s game against Middlesex. The same number will be at Edgbaston for Warwickshire against Northamptonshire.