England's Giles calls for cricket to unite

Ian McCullough

England cricket chief Ashley Giles has called on boards around the world to work together and protect the future of the game following the coronavirus outbreak.

Cricket, like all sports, has been halted due to the pandemic, with Australia's two-match Test tour of Bangladesh, which was set for June, postponed and the West Indies' tour of England pushed back until July.

Pakistan are also due to play Tests in England with Australia slated to visit for three ODIs and a trio of T20 internationals from July 3 - a prospect that now looks remote.

International boards, including Cricket Australia (CA), are all struggling to deal with the financial fall out from the virus and the chances of there being no cricket played in 2020 remains strong.

Australia's brief white ball tour of England could potentially be moved until September - a month before the start of the T20 World Cup on October 18 - should the virus which has claimed over 30,000 lives in the UK show signs of being curtailed.

Both nations are keen for the series to go ahead given the World Cup is being held in Australia from October 18.

That will be followed by what should be a money-spinning four-Test series for Tim Paine's side against India in front of empty stands.

England managing director of men's cricket Giles confirmed on Thursday his players will resume individual training on Monday and wants them to feel as safe returning to action as they would going to the supermarket.

Training will see players take part in one-on-one coaching sessions where individuals will arrive at grounds already in kit, undergo temperature checks and work under the supervision of a physio who'll be wearing personal protective equipment, if needed, to treat injuries.

Giles said there's been contact between ECB CEO Tom Harrison and CA, but admitted getting the West Indies and Pakistan Tests over the line is the priority.

"Tom is in regular communication at CEO level with all these teams," Giles said.

"Our focus right now is more on West Indies and then Pakistan arriving."

The former England spinner admitted these are concerning times for the sport and said there needs to be a level of cooperation between all countries to help get cricket back on its feet.

"In terms of the future tours programme it is really interesting, Giles said.

"At the moment we are all fighting our own fires. We are worried about getting our own deals done and Test matches on.

"It's the same in Australia and India and everyone else around the world.

"But in the future it will be important we work together and there is a united front because we are not going to play without sides giving a bit to each other.

"It still has to be safe and the right conditions but we have to come together if we are to get this on the road.

"To be clear, we will only train and potentially play cricket behind closed doors if we know it is absolutely safe to do so and is fully supported by the (UK) government."