The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has today (Wednesday) set out plans to host a full summer of international cricket in 2021, with a ticket refund system introduced in case COVID-19 again interferes with the schedule.
Building on this summer’s behind closed door men’s and women’s internationals, the ECB is preparing to stage matches at grounds across England and Wales next year. A five-Test series against India is planned to headline the men’s international summer, following a one-day international series against Sri Lanka and ODI and Twenty20 series against Pakistan.
The ECB said discussions about further series are continuing with the possibility of scheduling additional men’s bilateral cricket in June including Tests and T20s against Sri Lanka. Ballots for men’s internationals have opened today. The ECB stressed that the outlook around COVID-19 remains uncertain and so venues and dates are provisional and subject to change.
All ticket purchasers will be provided with a Ticket Refund Promise to guard against the potential impact of COVID-19 next summer. This ensures fans will get a refund if their ticket is cancelled due to full crowds not returning to stadiums due to COVID-19, or if they are unable to attend a match they purchased a ticket for because of a change in date or venue for that match.
ECB chief executive, Tom Harrison, said: “We had an amazing summer of international cricket this year with some memorable performances, and we know how much enjoyment it brought to people whilst staying at home.
“Next year we’ve got another big international programme to look forward to, with the thrill of a five-Test series against India as the centrepiece, compelling white ball series for our men and women, and an Ashes series for our visually impaired team.
“It’s an exciting prospect for England fans, and while COVID means there’s still a great deal of uncertainty, we really hope to be able to welcome fans back into the grounds safely next year to bring that unique atmosphere to stadia across the country.”
The ECB pioneered the safe return of international cricket this summer as Lancashire’s Emirates Old Trafford (pictured) and Hampshire’s Ageas Bowl were used as hub venues for the staging of men’s series against the West Indies and Pakistan.
However, international and domestic matches held behind closed doors have led to the game suffering losses of more than £100m (€111.9m/$132.9m) this summer, and as such the ECB is keen for fans to get back into grounds.
Emirates Old Trafford has been awarded the concluding Test against India on September 10-14, along with a T20 against Pakistan on July 20. The stadium was transformed into a bio-secure bubble this summer and hosted 21 days of international cricket.
After successfully hosting behind-closed-door matches – during which more than 3,500 COVID-19 tests were administered at the venue, with all tests returning negative results – Emirates Old Trafford launched the Safe in One Place campaign to share the knowledge and best practice gained from creating a bio-secure venue with the wider events industry.
Looking to 2021, India is a key territory for Lancashire Cricket as it looks to build on its long-term relations and achieve its strategic aim to make the club the second favourite team for all Indian fans. Earlier this year, Lancashire hosted its pre-season training camp in Mumbai and, in a first for an English county, Lancashire matches in 2020 were streamed live to Indian fans on the subcontinent via the JioTV service.
Lancashire Cricket’s pre-season training camp followed on from two trade missions the club has recently been part of. Discussing the prospect of India’s return to Emirates Old Trafford, Lancashire Cricket chief executive, Daniel Gidney, said: “Last summer we were fortunate to host India and Pakistan’s ICC Cricket World Cup fixture and it was one of the best atmospheres our historic venue has ever experienced.
“We look forward to welcoming supporters back to the venue next year and we are excited to, once again, host the Indian team and its fans, whose passion for cricket is unrivalled.”
Provisional 2021 England men’s home internationals
Tue 29 June England v Sri Lanka 1st ODI Emirates Riverside, Durham
Thu 1 July England v Sri Lanka 2nd ODI Kia Oval
Sun 4 July England v Sri Lanka 3rd ODI Bristol County Ground
Thu 8 July England v Pakistan 1st ODI Sophia Gardens, Cardiff
Sat 10 July England v Pakistan 2nd ODI Lord’s
Tue 13 July England v Pakistan 3rd ODI Edgbaston
Fri 16 July England v Pakistan 1st IT20 Trent Bridge
Sun 18 July England v Pakistan 2nd IT20 Emerald Headingley
Tue 20 July England v Pakistan 3rd IT20 Emirates Old Trafford
Wed 4-8 Aug England v India 1st Test Match Trent Bridge
Thu 12-16 Aug England v India 2nd Test Match Lord’s
Wed 25-29 Aug England v India 3rd Test Match Emerald Headingley
Thu 2-6 Sept England v India 4th Test Match Kia Oval
Fri 10-14 Sept England v India 5th Test Match Emirates Old Trafford