The England and Wales Cricket Board should consider temporarily scrapping overseas players in the County Championship to cut costs, says former England captain Michael Vaughan.
There will be no cricket in England or Wales before at least 1 July because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
On Monday, a report from a financial advisory firm said counties face a loss of £85m if the entire season is lost.
“You have to look at every area where you can save a few quid,” said Vaughan.
“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?”
Several counties have cancelled deals for overseas players in 2020 or postponed them until 2021.
On Monday, Yorkshire decided to terminate the contracts of Ravi Ashwin, Nicholas Pooran and Keshav Maharaj—with mutual consent—because of the coronavirus pandemic. All professional cricket has been put on hold in the United Kingdom till July 1, delaying the start of the English season.
Ashwin had signed up to play for eight matches of the 2020 County Championship season, Pooran was set to feature in the T20 Blast while Maharaj was signed for the first two County Championship fixtures.
“I really appreciate the players’ understanding in this matter,” Martyn Moxon, Yorkshire’s director of cricket, said. “We have been in regular contact with the players and their agents throughout this COVID pandemic. They have been extremely professional and appreciate the uncertainty facing counties at present. We hope that we will be able to see them at Emerald Headingley in the future.”
Several counties have been forced to terminate contracts of players because of COVID-19 while Essex decided to push Peter Siddle’s contract to 2021. Nathan Lyon, BJ Watling, Glenn Maxwell, James Faulkner and Matt Henry are some of the overseas signings who have had their contracts cancelled.
Meanwhile, Vaughan, who captained England in 51 of his 82 Tests, also suggested a temporary reduction in the number of Championship matches played.
Speaking on the Tuffers and Vaughan Show on BBC Radio 5 Live, he said: “Four-day cricket costs the game.
“I’m a die-hard four-day and five-day player. It is a cost to the game that could, just for a couple of years, be worth reducing.
“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. You could go back to that in two or three years.”
The Championship is set to be reduced this summer and may even be replaced with another first-class competition in what will be a truncated season.
Vaughan said overseas players should still be permitted in the T20 Blast and The Hundred.
The new 100-ball competition was due to launch this year but is likely to be postponed at an ECB board meeting today. (BBC Sports)