Leicestershire’s players are to renew training on Wednesday despite a second lockdown in the city of Leicester.
While many of the UK is slowly beginning to enjoy greater freedom, Leicester’s period in lockdown has been extended by a minimum of two-weeks after a surge of Covid-19 cases in the area. Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the BBC the city had seen “10 percent of all positive cases in the country over the last week”.
But even though Leicestershire’s Grace Street ground is inside that lockdown area, the club’s players will come off furlough on Wednesday with a purpose to being fit to renew playing county cricket on August 1.
“It’s an incredibly challenging situation,” Sean Jarvis, who started his role as the club’s new CEO on June 24, told ESPNcricinfo. “We are clarifying things with both the city and county councils but our understanding at the moment is we are permitted to train from July 1 and we can be ready to renew playing on August 1. We’re proceeding as whether it’s commerce as near to normal as we will.”
With a chance that Leicestershire won’t be able to use their home ground, the club are currently exploring options elsewhere. The most likely alternative venue is Kibworth Cricket Club, which has up to now hosted women’s ODIs, though Oakham and Uppingham can be thought to be.
While Jarvis said Leicestershire would be happy to “go with the consensus” when the counties make a decision on which formats to play in the truncanted season, their own preference is for white-ball cricket.
“On the subject of expense and logistics, we would probably prefer a 50-over competition to begin the season followed by a T20 Blast,” Jarvis said. “That way we could minimise hotels stays. But whether the consensus is we start the season with a first-class competition, we are prepared for that, too.”
Either way, Leicestershire will be eager to welcome spectators to their Grace Street home whether T20 cricket resumes, as deliberate, at the end of August. The club has remarkable financial issues and would welcome the cash-flow such ticket sales could generate.