Anderson fears virus could wreck English cricket season

London (AFP) –


England fast bowler James Anderson fears the global coronavirus pandemic could see the domestic and international season abandoned completely.

The England and Wales Cricket Board are due to meet with the 18 first-class counties on Thursday, possibly by teleconference, in a bid to see whether the existing structure for the 2020 summer can be maintained.

It follows Wednesday's decision by the ECB to recommend the suspension of the recreational game.

The County Championship is meant to start on April 12 but a delay looks increasingly likely given other sports have called a halt following British government advice to avoid mass gatherings.

Last week saw England postpone their tour of Sri Lanka. They are next meant to play the West Indies in a three-Test home series, starting on June 4.

"Cricket and sport is not the be all and end all but it is my livelihood, it's all I know," Anderson told the BBC's Tailenders podcast.

"The season is unlikely to start. It's still a little bit hazy as to what's going to happen. There's a chance we might not even bowl a ball this summer."

The Lancashire paceman, England's all-time leading Test wicket-taker, added: "I feel a little bit anxious. Just the not knowing is giving me a bit of anxiety."

Anderson made the last of his 151 Test appearances against South Africa in Cape Town in January before a broken rib saw him miss the last two matches of the series.

The 37-year-old was not selected for the Sri Lanka series in the hope he would be fully fit for the start of the home season.

Anderson said personal issues caused by the global COVID-19 impact were a consideration as well.

"Also trying to keep a young family healthy," he said. "I am trying to stay calm, follow the guidelines.

"My wife's mum and dad live in Spain so they are in lockdown. They are in the age group where there are concerns. The anxiety is building up in our house because of not knowing what will happen in the next few months."