Surrey schedule two-day Middlesex friendly match behind closed doors

Surrey schedule two-day Middlesex friendly match behind closed doors

The last game of county cricket played at The Oval took place last September

Surrey have confirmed plans to play Middlesex in a behind-closed-doors friendly next month.

The Oval will host a two-day red-ball fixture on 26 and 27 July, which will be streamed live online.

County cricket is postponed until at least 1 August because of coronavirus, but England will start a Test series against West Indies on 8 July.

Surrey hope the friendly will come before “competitive cricket returning the following weekend”.

They and Lancashire were the only two among 18 first-class counties who chose not to furlough players amid the pandemic.

The announcement indicates Middlesex will start to bring their players off the government job retention scheme soon, while a number of other counties have also resumed training in small groups.

Surrey will be streaming the match using multiple cameras on both their Facebook page and The Oval website.

Playing a regionalised four-day competition plus the T20 Blast is one of the possible options being considered for when the domestic season can be allowed to start.

But the government confirmed on Tuesday that recreational club cricket cannot resume yet until ways to make the game more secure are approved, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying that “the ball is a natural vector of disease”.

In reply, the England and Wales Cricket Board said on Wednesday: