London: All cricket matches in England and Wales have been suspended till May 28 due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has announced.

The ECB Board took the decision on Friday (March 20) after discussions with the First Class Counties, the MCC and the PCA.

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“It was agreed that, given the current information available, a seven-week delay to the start of the season is the most appropriate approach. The ECB has begun modelling a range of options to start the season in June, July or August – with an immediate focus on options for cricket in June, including the three-Test series against West Indies, the Vitality Blast and England Women’s schedule against India,” ECB said on its website.

ECB chief executive officer, Tom Harrison, said, “During this period of deep uncertainty it is the ECB’s first priority to protect the wellbeing of everyone within the cricket family, from players, to fans and colleagues across the game.

“The decision to delay the start of the season has been essential, given the circumstances the nation faces. I am reassured by the collaborative effort from across the game that together, we will make the very best of whatever length of season we are able to safely schedule in the coming months.

“With the information available to us at the moment a delay to the start of the professional cricket season until 28 May was unavoidable.

“This also allows us time to keep pace with a fast-moving situation and continue to plan for how a revised season might look. Critically, we can also remain as flexible and adaptable as possible, within the obvious restrictions we face.

“Securing the future of the game will be a primary focus as we plot a revised schedule with an emphasis on the most financially important forms of the game for the counties across international and domestic cricket.’’