England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Thursday released the fixtures of the upcoming Men’s County Championship. The championship will begin from April 8 with Essex squaring off against Worcestershire at their home ground in the opening game.
The new edition of the County cricket will be conducted in accordance with all the COVID-19 protocols under the bio-bubble.
“The 18 first-class counties agreed last October to reshape the men’s County Championship structure for 2021 edition only, in order to help mitigate against the possible impact of COVID-19 pandemic,” the ECB said in a media release.
The clubs will be placed in three groups with each group consisting of six teams implying the participation of 18 teams. As per the schedule, the group stage will conclude after the Round 10 & 11 matches with all the teams to be in action.
After the group stage, the teams will qualify for the further division stage with top two teams of all the groups excelling into division 1,2 & 3 respectively.
“We’re all looking forward to the return of the County Championship in 2021 after a very challenging year in 2020,” said Neil Snowball, ECB Managing Director County Cricket.
“Once again we have seen an innovative and collaborative approach between the ECB and the 18 first-class counties that has enabled us to plan for 2021 with a new, County Championship structure for 2021 only, that is designed to be both exciting for players and supporters and also flexible to the possible ongoing impact of COVID-19” he further stated.
The ECB also reiterated that the schedule for the white-ball tournament for both men and women teams will also be announced shortly.