London, April 24 (IANS) The Indian women team’s tour of England which was slated to start on June 25, has been pushed back temporarily as England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday announced that no professional cricket will be played in England and Wales until at least July 1 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Indian women were supposed to play four ODIs and two T20 Internationals during their short two-week trip that would have ended on July 9.

India were supposed to play T20Is at Taunton and Bristol apart from four ODIs in Worcester, Chelmsford, Canterbury and Hove.

An ECB Board meeting on Thursday approved a number of measures which would significantly restructure the English season if some cricket is played this summer.

In terms of international cricket, featuring England men’s and women’s teams, will look to be scheduled from July until the end of September, with the West Indies Test Series and the women’s series against India (T20Is and ODIs) both moving from their original slots

In terms of domestic cricket, the T20 Blast, which was set to begin on May 28, will be pushed back as late into the season as possible to give it the best chance of being played. All group matches scheduled for June will be rearranged for later in the season.

“As much as we remain hopeful that we can deliver some cricket this summer, we are in the midst of a worldwide crisis and our priority — over and above the playing of professional sport — will be to protect the vulnerable, key workers and society as a whole over,” said ECB CEO Tom Harrison.

“That’s why, simply put, there will be no cricket unless it’s safe to play. Our schedule will only go ahead if government guidance permits.

“Our biggest challenge, along with other sports, is how we could seek to implement a bio-secure solution that offers optimum safety and security for all concerned. The guidance we receive from Westminster will help us shape how we deliver this.

“Our plan is to reschedule international matches as late as possible in the season to give the best chance of play. The Vitality Blast will also now occupy the latest possible season slot to offer as much time as possible to play a County short-form competition,” he added.

–IANS

dm/bbh

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