LONDON: England’s county cricketers will continue to take pay cuts of up to 20 percent in June and July to help protect the domestic game during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Professional Cricketers Association (PCA) has said.

Players, excluding those in the final year of their contract, had previously agreed to forgo one million pounds ($1.25 million) in prize money and take wage cuts in April and May.

Domestic cricket in England has been suspended until Aug 1 which means at least nine rounds of the County Championship, due to start in April, will be lost.

PCA chairman Daryl Mitchell said the decision would ease the economic burden on the 134 players whose contracts expire at the end of the season.

“With no cricket to be played in June or July and no revenue to be generated by counties, players have agreed to extend measures to protect the futures of all counties,” Mitchell said in a statement. “Working collaboratively through this crisis has always been one of our top priorities and I appreciate the collective spirit of these discussions with the first-class counties, particularly at this most challenging of times.”

Sixteen of the 18 counties have used the government’s furlough scheme during the shutdown, with Lancashire and Surrey the only teams opting out.

Mitchell added: “Although a great amount of uncertainty remains in domestic cricket, it does appear there is light at the end of the tunnel for players to return at some stage this summer.

“This [cut] has not been an easy decision and causes a great deal of disruption to many of our members, however, the PCA players’ committee ultimately agreed this is the right thing to do.”

Published in Dawn, June 3rd, 2020