London: The English domestic season resumes from today with the start of the Bob Wills Trophy.
The English domestic season was paused since the second week of March due to the global coronavirus pandemic. This was the longest pause for the English domestic season since it was stopped for four years from 1942-1945 due to World War II.
There was no professional cricket in England since the second week of March till the start of the series between England and West Indies. After the success of the England and West Indies series, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is all set to start the 2020 season of the County Cricket Championship.
Eighteen teams are taking part in this first-class tournament. The teams will split into three regional groups. The league stage of the tournament will see 4-day matches while the latter stages will see 5-day contests. The final of this tournament will be played in the month of October at Lords.
The Bob Wills Trophy is dedicated to former English fast bowler Bob Wills who died last December at the age of 70.
This time there are various changes in the format of the tournament. Each team will get to play only 120 overs to play in each innings, the availability of new ball will be after 90 overs not the earlier 80 and the maximum overs in a day has been changed to 90 from the earlier 96. The wait for the new ball has been extended in order to allow the spinners a chance to exert more influence on the game.
All the teams will have their own bio-secure protocols and players will have to undergo daily symptoms and temperature checks. There will be 16 points for a win, 8 for a draw which was 5 earlier.
The UK government had barred the ECB from allowing more than 2500 spectators in the matches at the Oval and Edgbaston amid the coronavirus crisis. The ECB is still hopeful that full capacity stadiums will be allowed before the end of this season.