(Reuters) - The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) should consider a shortened County Championship season without overseas players for two years to offset the financial impact of the coronavirus outbreak, former England skipper Michael Vaughan said.
The ECB has extended its suspension of the professional game until July 1 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which means nine rounds of County Championship fixtures will be lost.
Counties face losses of up to 85 million pounds if the season is scrapped altogether, the BBC said citing a report from financial advisory firm Oakwell Sports.
“You have to look at every area where you can save a few quid,” Vaughan, who captained England’s test team between 2003 and 2008, told the BBC.
“Traditionalists will go mad at this, but these are unprecedented times. In the next two years, could you look at not having overseas players for the four-day game?”
Some counties, including Yorkshire and Essex, have cancelled or deferred contracts of overseas players due to the financial impact of the outbreak, which has shut down sports globally.
The virus has infected three million people globally causing more than 205,000 deaths.
Vaughan said reducing the number of fixtures in the County Championship from 14 to 10 would do no harm in the short term.
“Four-day cricket costs the game ... it is a cost that could, just for a couple of years, be worth reducing,” he added.
“If you reduced it from 14 to 10 games, you’d miss the games but I don’t think it would be a huge problem for a couple of years.”
Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Stephen Coates